Aim of this paper is to foreground the conceptual limits and epistemological blind spots of a very influential psychological model of religious conversion by looking anew at two late antique cases of ‘turns’ to Christianity, namely those of Cyprian of Cartha¬ge (245-246 C.E.) and Augustine of Hippo (386 C.E.). Narratives on these conversions not only document the struggle of desired newness and resistant habits in the in-between phase of the turning. They also evidence the lasting conditioning effects of these latter on the ‘new¬born’. If the crisis reveals the scale and the power of habitualized schemes of percep¬tion, evaluation, and action over human existence, its overcoming may bespeak the conti¬nuation of habits by other means.
Keywords: Christian conversion, consciousness, habit, William James, Arthur D. Nock, Pierre Bourdieu, Cyprian of Carthage, Augustine of Hippo