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dc.contributor.authorAndrews, Frances
dc.contributor.editorAndrews, Frances
dc.contributor.editorMethuen, Charlotte
dc.contributor.editorSpicer, Andrew
dc.identifier.citationAndrews , F 2016 , Doubting John? in F Andrews , C Methuen & A Spicer (eds) , Doubting Christianity : The Church and Doubt . Studies in Church History , vol. 52 , Cambridge University Press , Cambridge , pp. 17-48 .
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0002-5763-5264/work/64697606
dc.description.abstractThis essay focuses on the figure of John the Baptist in prison and the question he sent his disciples to ask Christ: was he ‘the one who is to come’ (Matthew 11: 2–3). Having observed how the Fathers strove to distance John from the perils of doubt in their readings of this passage, it traces the way their arguments were picked up by twelfth and thirteenth-century biblical exegetes and then by authors of anti-heretical dispute texts in urban Italy, where the Baptist was a popular patron saint. So as to give force to their own counter-arguments, learned polemicists, clerical and lay, made much of heretics’ hostility to John, powerfully ventriloquizing a doubting, sceptical standpoint. One counter-argument was to assign any doubts to John’s disciples, for whose benefit he therefore sent to ask for confirmation of the means of Christ’s return, neatly moving doubt from questions of faith to epistemology. Such ideas may have seeped beyond the bounds of a university trained elite, as is perhaps visible in a fourteenth-century fresco representing John in prison engaging with anxious disciples. But place, audience and genre determined where doubt was energetically debated and where it was more usually avoided, as in sermons for the laity on the feast of a popular saint.
dc.publisherCambridge University Press
dc.relation.ispartofDoubting Christianityen
dc.relation.ispartofseriesStudies in Church Historyen
dc.subjectBR Christianityen
dc.titleDoubting John?en
dc.typeBook itemen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. School of Historyen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. St Andrews Institute of Medieval Studiesen

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