theophiletos (theophiletos) wrote,

being an academic screws with your priorities

(I don't think there are any mothers who read by journal, but in case there are, Happy Mother's Day to all of you.)

I've discovered that being an academic can screw with your priorities. For instance, I'm working on my term paper for one of my classes, and at one point I found myself really glad because a town named Thiave in Numidia was Donatist within recent memory of 430.

Background: Numidia was a region of North Africa, part of the coast of modern Algeria. Thiave was a bishopric in the larger diocese of Hippo, and so the bishop of Thiave answered to Augustine. Donatism was a major ecclesiastical controversy in the fourth and fifth centuries, over whether the sacraments performed by an immoral priest or bishop were valid or not (Donatists, who sometimes formed the majority in some parts of Africa, said they were not, while Catholics said they were). The Donatist schism was officially ended at a council in 411 when the Imperial official condemned the Donatists as schismatic and ordered them to rejoin the Catholic church - many did but of course some did not. For my paper, I want to argue that a letter that Augustine wrote to the bishop of Thiave around 429, although it doesn't mention Donatists, has Donatists in mind, and so to discovery that Thiave was "only recently Catholic" according to a letter of Augustine around 405 makes my thesis more likely. But man, to subject the well-being of the people of Thiave to utility for my term paper...
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