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Literary Genre Or Religious Apathy? The Presence Or Absence Of Theology And Religious Thought In Secular Writing In The Late Antique East

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the 6th century, a period which offers much potential-in the persons and writings of, say, Procopius or Agathias-for the probing of secular religious sensibilities. Agathias in particular in his verse combines epigrams written completely within the classical, even Hellenistic, conventions of a slightly outrageous eroticism with others that soberly dedicate votive icons to the Archangel Michael. The text on which the chapter concentrates is the chronicle of John Malalas. Malalas shows a level of basic recognition of a religious environment, which is Christian. The author argues that Malalas' apparently Christian world chronicle has embedded in it a whole series of strands of barely Christian beliefs and superstitions, which had him, the chronicler of an apparently Christian society, in thrall, whilst Christian doctrines and heresies left him unmoved.

Keywords: Agathias; Christianisation; Malalas' chronicle; secular religious sensibilities



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