A typically rich passage from Milbank ( Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason ):
“Augustine’s critique of pagan religion concerns also its many gods and the ritual relations of the city to these gods. A diversity of gods, governing different areas of cultural life, implies that these areas may be fundamentally in conflict, and that they require their own deity precisely because their distinctness is at bottom a matter of the self-assertion of power. Thus Augustine says that the diverse pagan virtues were ‘commanded by demons’ (the gods being really malign demons) and consequently ‘relate only to themselves.’ The honour due to the diverse gods is fundamentally a matter of satisfying their lust, greed and power, and therefore what they demand is sacrifice . They desire to subtract something from us, and delight most of all to be spectators at festivals of violence, the gladiatorial combats in the stadium at the heart of the city. By contrast, the single God of Christianity is utterly removed from any idea of rivalry or self-assertion, and does not demand any sacrifice save that of the offering of love. Just as the act of creation takes away nothing from God, so also our self-giving involves no real self-loss, but is rather a new reception of being which consists fundamentally in orientation to the Other. Whereas, within Rome, there are many sacrifices, to many, sometimes rival gods, no sacrifices, properly speaking, occur within the Church, but rather the Church community is itself the real sacrifice to God, because its bonds of community are constituted by mutual self-offering.”
A Master’s thesis, perhaps a dissertation, in each sentence.