The contours of Donatism : theological and ideological diversity in fourth century North Africa.




Hoover, Jesse A.

Access rights

Worldwide access

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



It has been tempting for many historians of fourth century North Africa to view the Donatist church as a monolithic movement. This is not, however, an accurate picture. Donatism exhibited varied contours during its period of ascendancy in North Africa, differences in theological and ideological beliefs which often led to tension, even schism, within itself. The purpose of this thesis is to discuss these varieties within the Donatist movement. Accordingly, it will first examine the evolution of Donatism over time by comparing the concerns of the original schism with those of the movement at the Council of Carthage in 411. The paper will then turn to the great divergences which characterized the late Donatist movement by focusing on the radicals on its right and left flanks—the Circumcellions and Rogatists/Maximianists, respectively. By doing so, a picture of Donatism will be presented that truly appreciates the theological variety within the movement.


Includes bibliographical references (p.291-301).


Donatists., Africa, North -- Church history., Church history -- 4th century.