theology. Not only was he at odds with African trends but also with members of the New Prophecy outside Africa.
Aside from women as leaders, African writers supported the general mores of their society with Christian rationalisations. Tertullian took for granted the Roman valorisation of the univira ('a women married only once') and condemned remarriage (Mon. 15 and Ad ux. Book 2). Both he and Cyprian prescribed behaviour for women which was stricter than Carthaginian society generally, e.g. forbidding make-up, jewellery and styled hair (Cult. fem. and Virg., and Hab. virg., respectively). It should be noted, however, that while the standards of conduct for women were stricter, so too was the behaviour demanded of men in this rigorist church, especially with regard to sexual mores (e.g. Tert. Exh. cast. and Mon.).
On the whole, whether in theology or in ethics, African Christianity tended towards literal and strict interpretations of scripture and morality. It defined itself against the culture through martyrdom and apologetic. It defined itself internally by being dedicated to unity and collegiality. When the Roman emperor accepted Christianity as a licit religion, Christians who had staked their identity on opposition to the state were forced to rethink that identity. Those who accepted imperial largesse and support rationalised their acceptance by finding a positive, or at least neutral, position for the emperor in the divine plan, as did Augustine. Those who could not, saw themselves as the final remnant of the true church. In North Africa, these would be the Donatists. True heirs of African Christianity, they maintained literal and strict interpretations of scripture and a culture of martyrdom. They fostered unity and collegiality among those who continued to oppose the Roman state. All others were outsiders.46
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