14. Whither Shall we Go? Tertullian and Christian Identity Formation
Theorizing Religion in Antiquity - Nickolas P. Roubekas
Nickolas P. Roubekas [+]
University of Vienna
Nickolas P. Roubekas is assistant professor of Religious Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria. He is the author of An Ancient Theory of Religion: Euhemerism from Antiquity to the Present (Routledge, 2017) and editor of Theorizing “Religion” in Antiquity (Equinox, 2019) and Explaining, Interpreting, and Theorizing Religion and Myth (with Thomas Ryba; Brill, 2020).
It is today common practice to refer to identity-formation practices and processes when dealing with early Christianity. In addition, postmodern approaches to religion tend to focus on identity formation as the underlying aim of 'religion' as a phenomenon. Tertulian, perhaps the most important author of the early Christian period in the west, dedicates a treatise on the spectacles and whether, how, and why Christians should avoid participating as spectators to the games, theater, and other social gatherings curated by the Roman Empire on the basis of their pagan contents. Although his argumentation is based on theological principles, his discussion touches upon the issue of theorizing about space, religion, and identity.