Truthfulness, Realism, Historicity

A Study in Late Antique Spiritual Literature
Turner, Peter
Date published: 
June 2012

The subject of this book is a wide range of spiritual narrative texts from the third to the sixth centuries A.D.: pagan philosophical biographies, Greek and Latin Christian saints' lives, and autobiographical works by authors such as Julian and Augustine. Unlike traditional readings which seek in these works historical facts, or religious and intellectual attitudes, this book argues that contemporary reality can be found in the interplay between these two types of information. Any historical reality we derive from such works must be seen in terms of the writers' commitment to realism as it would have been understood within a Platonic and/or Christian world view.