Culture Wars and a Judge’s Roman Piety
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How are we to read the judge’s piety at a time when Michael Psellos approached the human experience from a notably humanist, not to say secular and materialist perspective? In this chapter, we examine Attaleiates’ skeptical take on causation and his instrumental approach on piety. The judge is treated here as a participant in the eleventh-century culture wars that pitted humanists like Psellos against otherworldly rigorists, the likes of Niketas Stethatos and Michael Keroularios. Attaleiates’ own piety emerges as a practical quest for proper performance of socially meaningful religion. His religion with its emphasis on proper practice was Roman and his piety was instrumental. His faith remains a mystery that cannot be revealed unless we take into account his legal relativism and historian’s skepticism.