Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Reformation. Revised and Updated ed. Vol. 1. New York: HarperCollins, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Ch. 16, “The Schismatic Reaction: Donatism” Loc. 3214-3336.
In addition to the move toward monasticism, some others who were dissatisfied with the changes under Constantine claimed that they remained the only true church. The largest of these groups were the Donatists (Gonzalez 2010, 3218). This controversy, primarily in northern Africa, concerned forgiveness for those who had turned over copies of the Scriptures to authorities, in order to avoid punishment (Ibid., Loc. 3229). The Donatists were so called from the name of a conservative rival bishop of Carthage, Donatus (Ibid., Loc. 3241). Not only was Donatus in the minority, his bishopric was contested as he and his predecessor were elected by a schismatic group, counter to the regularly elected bishop (Ibid., Loc. 3241). Gonzalez notes that there were “theological, political, and economic roots” to the situation (Ibid., Loc. 3253). Theologically, there was a divide over those who had fallen away, as well as the validity of consecrations performed by those who had. The groups were also divided along social lines (Ibid., Loc. 3280). The Donatists were largely agricultural people with a strong antipathy to Rome (Ibid., Loc. 3283). As time progressed, some of the Donatist movement desired martyrdom to the extent that they would try to provoke persecution (Ibid., Loc. 3317). It was not until the seventh century and Muslim invasions of Libya that Donatism died out (Ibid., Loc. 3328).