ÂSent from the Confines of Hellâ: Bonosiacs in Early Medieval Gaul

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The Bonosiacs were the followers of Bonosus, a fourth-century bishop from Naissus, whom the Synod of Capua had branded a heretic in 391 or 392. They make an unexpected appearance in sources from the Burgundian, Visigothic, andMerovingian kingdoms (ca. 500-636). This article claims that, as a distinct community, the Bonosiacs were never a part of the religious landscape of the sixth- A nd seventh-century West. Rather, the term "Bonosiacs" was used in the letters of Avitus of Vienne (494/6-518), in conciliar legislation, and in penitential and hagiographical compositions as a means of expressing the needs of the ecclesiastical elite, primarily to exclude those who would challenge institutional power. The image that arises fromthese sources of Bonosiacs, and of hereticsmore generally, is often helpfully contextualized by examining the political background. In a body of work that reflects a century of theological thought, heresiology was ultimately circumscribed by power dynamics, in which the boundaries of orthodoxy were negotiated with an eye toward the material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-341
Number of pages26
JournalStudies in Late Antiquity
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Arians
  • Avitus of vienne
  • Bonosiacs
  • Burgundian
  • Merovingian

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Classics
  • History
  • Religious studies


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