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Cyprian's Eschatology: Explaining Divine Purpose

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Chapter Summary

By defining and explaining the shifts in Cyprian's theodicy, this chapter demonstrates the situations in which apocalyptic flourished or failed to take hold among his people. In January 250, the Decian edict required all inhabitants of the Empire to participate in the imperial cult and instituted a mechanism of systematic enforcement which threatened the upper classes with loss of property and the lower classes with violent coercion. Cyprian's letters from exile and the exhortation he addressed to the church community upon his return indicate a second problem which troubled the Christians of Carthage. Cyprian' s letters from exile during the Decian persecution attacked the foundational supposition that God either had failed to heed the church's prayer to be shielded from temptation or had proven unable to deliver the faithful from evil.

Keywords: Carthage; Christians; church; Cyprian; Decian persecution



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