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Penser et construire une autorité chrétienne dans l'Empire romain : les associations "empereur - croix" dans les textes des IVe et Ve siècles

Abstract : This study investigates the Christian conceptualization of authority and its political contexts by focusing on a rather common but never systematically analyzed rhetorical strategy in the texts of the 4th and 5th centuries: the associations between the Roman Emperor and the symbol of the cross. At the interface between the Emperor and the cross stands another authority, personal or collective, who is considered a mediator. Concrete or symbolic associations between at least two parties usually form themselves under a common goal: the glorious kingdom of Emperor, Christ, and their mediators. In this case, the cross is solicited in its profuse meaning as a powerful and dynamic sign, both iconic and theological; it is thus integrated in a specific setting of time and place or in a metaphorical and allegorical discourse. The goal of this study is to look at the different proponents of a mediating authority, whether secular or ecclesiastical, and their claims for visibility, political basis and public recognition. The manifold associations between the Emperor and the cross are part of a vibrant discourse, which is both partisan and conquering in reclaiming a specific Christian authority; and whoever is able to manipulate the power of the cross gains prophetic qualities that also legitimize political participation. Thus, the capacity to act as a mediator builds upon competition between intermediaries or upon the appropriation of this capacity by legal means, but not upon conflict with the Imperial authority. In associating the Emperor and the cross in the texts, the authors describe interactions and networks of contacts. Rather than breathless and “standardized” processes, these networks reveal the multiple and polymorphic dynamics of political relationships in Late Antiquity.
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Submitted on : Friday, February 5, 2016 - 6:23:06 PM
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Tiphaine Moreau. Penser et construire une autorité chrétienne dans l'Empire romain : les associations "empereur - croix" dans les textes des IVe et Ve siècles. Histoire. Université de Limoges, 2015. Français. ⟨NNT : 2015LIMO0089⟩. ⟨tel-01270182⟩



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