Martyrs, exegetes, catechumens, and councils enlarge this study of North African Christianity, a region often reduced to its dominant patristic personalities. Smither provides English readers a quality translation of an important book that captures the unique spirit of an invaluable chapter of church history. Along with the churches located in large Greek cities of the East, the church of Carthage was particularly significant in the early centuries of Christian history. Initially, the Carthaginian church became known for its martyrs. Later, the North African church became further established and unified through the regular councils of its bishops. Finally, the church gained a reputation for its outstanding leaders - Tertullian of Carthage (c. 140-220), Cyprian of Carthage (195-258), and Augustine of Hippo (354-430) - African leaders who continued to be celebrated and remembered today.
Francois Decret holds a PhD in History and is a recognized authority on early Christianity in North Africa. He has taught at the Universities of Oran (Algeria), Lyon (France), Antilles-Guyane (Caribbean), and the University of Latran (Rome).
Translator's Preface; Preface to the English Translation; Geographical and Historical Background; Origins of the African Church; Tertullian: the "Master"; Mid-Third-Century Persecution and Crisis in Africa; Cyprian, the "Pope" of Carthage; Organization and Life of the Third-Century African Churches; The Donatist Schism and the Division of African Christianity; The Diverse African Religious Landscape in Late Antiquity; Augustine of Hippo and the Glory of the "Great Church"; The Final Stages of the African Church: From the Vandal invasion to the Arab Maghreb; Maps; Chronology; Bibliography; Index.