Was there an Africitas theologica? A Preliminary Inquiry into the Regional Specificity of the North African and Augustinian Theology of Original Sin and Grace (ca. 200–450 CE)
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In Late Antiquity, the correlation between geographical context and theological content resulted in a variety of regionally colored types of Christianity. This discussion paper raises the question whether the identity of North African Christianity (ca. 200–450 CE) was expressed in a specific regional theology of original sin and grace. The project’s point of departure is Augustine of Hippo (354–430), arguably the most influential theologian of the region. His strict definition of original sin and grace was labeled as “typically North African” by Julian of Aeclanum (in a polemic context), and has been reiterated by scholars such as Gerald Bonner (as a suggestion for further research). Hence the discussion of the existence of a possible Africitas theologica will be focused on two questions: (1) Is there an African theology of original sin and grace prior to Augustine that formed a basis for his reflections? (2) To what extent is this theology present in other geographical regions of Christianity? The current paper will present the contours of the discussion on the specificity of North African theological identity.
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