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EXCLUSIONS FROM THE CATECHUMENATE: CONTINUITY OR DISCONTINUITY WITH PAGAN CULT?

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This paper looks at the categories of person that two Christian documents, the Traditio apostolorum and Book 8 of the Constitutiones apostolorum, that belong respectively to the 3rd and later 4th centuries AD, propose be excluded from the catechumenate, apparently on the ground that the callings they follow make them morally-unfit. It asks whether that was the only reason for their exclusion and suggests that the prejudice from which such callings as performing on the stage and charioteering suffered in Roman society was also a factor. The paper then goes on to ask whether these exclusions from the catechumenate in their concern with moral fitness represent a radical new departure from anything to be found in pagan cult and whether we should continue to subscribe to the widely-held belief that pagan cult is not concerned with the moral state of the worshipper, but only with the punctilious performance of the ritual by persons not defiled by recent sexual contact or by the death of a close relative. It concludes that there is no discontinuity and that moral unworthiness could well be a source of concern in pagan cult.

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/content/journals/10.1163/156852701317092887
2001-10-01
2016-09-29

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