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Lucian's response to Augustine: conversion and narrative in Confessions and Nigrinus

Grethlein, Jonas

In: Religion in the Roman Empire, Nr. 2/2 (1 June 2016), pp. 256-278

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In the case of the extraordinary experience of a conversion, the shortcomings of a verbal rendering are felt with particular force. Augustine’s account of his conversion in Confessions 8, however, not only ignores the gap between experience and narrative, but entwines them in a way that seems to erase the boundary between Life and life. In Nigrinus, Lucian trenchantly satirises the kind of chain between conversion and its representation envisaged by Augustine. At the same time, a comparison with the much later reception of the Confessions in Petrarch throws into relief the common ground which Lucian and Augustine share. Taken together, the Confessions and the Nigrinus give us a glimpse of what may have been a rich tradition of protreptic conversion literature in the Hellenistic and Imperial Eras.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Religion in the Roman Empire
Number: 2/2
Publisher: Mohr Siebeck
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2018 13:16
Date: 1 June 2016
Page Range: pp. 256-278
Faculties / Institutes: Philosophische Fakultät > Seminar für klassische Philologie
Subjects: 480 Hellenic languages Classical Greek
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