Conversion Through Penance in the Italian Church of the Fourth and Fifth Centuries New Approaches to the Experience of Conversion From Sin

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Reviews penance within the context of the spirituality of the time. By relating the attitudes toward penance and pardon in those days to the changing social position of the Christian community, this study reveals that a new understanding of penance developed as an integral part of the development of the role of the Church in leading sinners to healing and holiness.


"This is an impressive work of research and an important book. It offers an exhaustive investigation of post-baptismal penitential practice at the heart of Latin Christianity during antiquity's most creative era. Librarians will wish to acquire this volume for their collections, of course. But individual patristics scholars should also consider buying their own personal copy, if they have a specialized interest in the respective histories of Christian Liturgy, Spirituality, or Homiletics. . . . is thoroughly and extensively documented for a total of 1745 footnotes, a 14-page appendix and a 30-page bibliography of primary and secondary sources. One wonders if there could be a single written remark of a Church Father on the subject of penance which could possibly have been overlooked." - Patristics

". . . an important study not only of the slow and complex growth of ecclesial healing compassion for postbaptismal sinners in the 4th- and 5th-century Italian church but also for its study of pertinent biblical exegesis, of the incorporation of the healing element into the Lenten observances of an early church, and of the concretization of the element in the visual arts of the time." - ADRIS

". . . students of the history of spirituality, pastoral care, and penance will find this a useful volume. . ." - Church History

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