This article explores the origins of religious intolerance in two episodes from the early fifth century ad: the forcible conversion of 540 Jews in Minorca by Bishop Severus, and the failed attempt by the monk Fronto to uncover heterodox belief in Tarragona, north-east Hispania. With the newly discovered relics of St Stephen, the presbyter Paulus Orosius brought a peculiarly vehement and absolute intolerance of non-orthodox Christianity to Minorca. Intolerance was facilitated and communicated through a trans-Mediterranean network of Christians connected through letter-writing and the exchange of visitors, of which Orosius was a particularly mobile and dynamic participant. In contrast to previous criticism, this article identifies Orosius as a point of intersection within the controversies, and, in the dissemination of his ideology of intolerance, as a catalyst for conflict.
- St Stephen