Chapter

True and False Repenting: Trends in the Study of Early Christian Repentance from the Reformation to the Present

Alexis Torrance

in Repentance in Late Antiquity

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199665365
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745065 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199665365.003.0002

Series: Oxford Theology and Religion Monographs

True and False Repenting: Trends in the Study of Early Christian Repentance from the Reformation to the Present

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Among the chief catalysts of the Reformation was a debate over the correct understanding of repentance in early Christianity. This debate, hinging on the question of the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the High Medieval Latin system of penance, was the driving force behind studies of early church repentance. Consequently, it is argued that a somewhat distorted and incomplete view of repentance in late antiquity has prevailed in scholarship over the past several centuries. This, however, is changing, and more recent, constructive developments in the study of repentance are highlighted. The chapter concludes with a treatment of methodological questions: the threefold framework that is applied to repentance is introduced; the question of terminology is addressed; and the reasoning behind the selection of ascetic authors is outlined.

Keywords: repentance; penance; Reformation; study of repentance; methodology; terminology

Chapter.  10405 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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