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The Disputation With Felix: Themes And Modalities Of Augustine's Polemic

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Chapter Summary

In order to historically assess the Contra Felicem Manichaeum, this chapter refers the information provided by Augustine in the Retractationes, which evokes, albeit briefly, the circumstances of its composition. Possidius, Augustines biographer, confirms the event and defines Felix christianus as an elect involved with Augustine in the public debate recorded by the notarii. After a series of exchanges between the two interlocutors regarding the texts on which to base the demonstration of Manis authority or untruthfulness, Felix resigns himself to limiting the discussion to the Fundamental Epistle. The debate continues along the same lines in a sort of dialogue between the deaf, as each participant is set on stressing his own reasons: Augustine counters Manichaean myths with Christian truth, and Felix appeals to the New Testament texts as proof and foundation of his own dualistic faith.

Keywords: Augustines polemic; Felix christianus; Manichaean myths



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