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Augustine, the 'compassionate' Christians, and the Apocalypse of Peter

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Chapter Summary

Augustine calls his Christian opponents misericordi nostril, 'our own compassionate ones', 'the compassionate Christians', and, although this description refers immediately to the second group, it is plainly also the way Augustine regards all of the groups. With the exception of Origen, whose position on the salvation of the devil had been condemned by the church, Augustine does not regard these Christians as heretics, but simply as mistaken and misguided, motivated for the most part, apparently, by a misplaced compassion for the damned. He calls the third group 'these perversely compassionate people'. The oldest source in which tradition is now extant is the Apocalypse of Peter, which contains all three points in Augustine's report of what the Christians he knew expected: which reads: 'I will give to my called and elect ones whomsoever they request from me, out of the punishment'.

Keywords: Apocalypse of Peter; Augustine; Christians; Origen

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