Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Church in Ancient SocietyFrom Galilee to Gregory the Great$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Henry Chadwick

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199246953

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199246955.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 January 2021



(p.688) 61 Penance
The Church in Ancient Society

Henry Chadwick

Oxford University Press

Debates about the theory and practice of penance in the early Church were governed by the underlying question of whether the Church was ‘a society of saints or a school for sinners’, with the latter view gradually becoming dominant. Using the gospels and Paul's letters as a basis, the distinction was developed between mortal and venial sins, but there remained difficulties over which sins fell into which category. Gradually, two ideas gained hold: first, that penance should be treated as therapeutic rather than judgemental; and second, that penants should be allowed to confess in private to a priest or bishop rather than publicly before the whole congregation.

Keywords:   penance

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .