Bishops Where No Bishops Should Be

Leslie Dossey

in Peasant and Empire in Christian North Africa

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780520254398
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947771 | DOI:
Bishops Where No Bishops Should Be

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  • Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)


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This chapter describes the diffusion of bishops, who were ordained to the major cities in the third century, and by the fourth and fifth centuries presided over estates and villages in Byzacena and Numidia. Local communities sought them, and because of the competition between Donatists and Catholics and a peculiar way of choosing primates, the North African churches obliged. The result was a new sort of leadership, common to city and country. These rural bishops provided an impetus for community formation, a way for small estates to come together under a common leader and even take a common name, counteracting the most damaging aspect of Roman domination—the scattering of rural populations onto separate estates.

Keywords: rural bishops; local communities; community formation; North African churches

Chapter.  9932 words. 

Subjects: Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)

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