Early in the third century, a small group of Greek Christians began to gain prominence and legitimacy as intellectuals in the Roman Empire. Examining the relationship that these thinkers had with the broader Roman intelligentsia, Jared Secord contends that the success of Christian intellectualism during this period had very little to do with Christianity itself. With the recognition that Christian authors were deeply engaged with the norms and realities of Roman intellectual culture, Secord examines the thought of a succession of Christian literati that includes Justin Martyr, Tatian, Julius Africanus, and Origen, comparing each to a diverse selection of his non-Christian contemporaries. Reassessing Justin's apologetic works, Secord reveals Christian views on martyrdom to be less distinctive than previously believed. He shows that Tatian's views on Greek culture informed his reception by Christians as a heretic. Finally, he suggests that the successes experienced by Africanus and Origen in the third century emerged as consequences not of any change in attitude towards Christianity by imperial authorities but of a larger shift in intellectual culture and imperial policies under the Severan dynasty. Original and erudite, this volume demonstrates how distorting the myopic focus on Christianity as a religion has been in previous attempts to explain the growth and success of the Christian movement. It will stimulate new research in the study of early Christianity, classical studies, and Roman history.
Early in the third century, a small group of Greek Christians began to gain prominence and legitimacy as intellectuals in the Roman Empire. Examining the relationship that these thinkers had with the broader Roman intelligentsia, Jared Secord contends that the success of Christian intellectualism during this period had very little to do with Christianity itself. With the recognition that Christian authors were deeply engaged with the norms and realities of Roman intellectual culture, Secord examines the thought of a succession of Christian literati that includes Justin Martyr, Tatian, Julius Africanus, and Origen, comparing each to a diverse selection of his non-Christian contemporaries. Reassessing Justin’s apologetic works, Secord reveals Christian views on martyrdom to be less distinctive than previously believed. He shows that Tatian’s views on Greek culture informed his reception by Christians as a heretic. Finally, he suggests that the successes experienced by Africanus and Origen in the third century emerged as consequences not of any change in attitude toward Christianity by imperial authorities but of a larger shift in intellectual culture and imperial policies under the Severan dynasty. Original and erudite, this volume demonstrates how distorting the myopic focus on Christianity as a religion has been in previous attempts to explain the growth and success of the Christian movement. It will stimulate new research in the study of early Christianity, classical studies, and Roman history.
This book examines the role of social networks in the formation of identity among sophists, philosophers and Christians in the early Roman Empire. Membership in each category was established and evaluated socially as well as discursively. From clashes over admission to classrooms and communion to construction of the group's history, integration into the social fabric of the community served as both an index of identity and a medium through which contests over status and authority were conducted. The juxtaposition of patterns of belonging in Second Sophistic and early Christian circles reveals a shared repertoire of technologies of self-definition, authorization and institutionalization and shows how each group manipulated and adapted those strategies to its own needs. This approach provides a more rounded view of the Second Sophistic and places the early Christian formation of 'orthodoxy' in a fresh context.
How do things change? The question is critical to the historical study of any era but it is also a profoundly important issue today as western democracies find the fundamental tenets of their implicit social contract facing extreme challenges from forces espousing ideas that once flourished only on the outskirts of society. This books argues that radical change always begins with ideas that took shape on the fringes. Throughout time the "mainstream" has been inherently conservative, allowing for incremental change but essentially dedicated to preserving its own power structures as the dominant ideology justifies existing relationships. In this tour of radical change across Western history, David Potter will show how ideologies that develop in opposition or reaction to those supporting the status quo are employed to effect profound changes in political structures that will in turn alter the way that social relations are constructed. Not all radical groups are the same, and all the groups that the book will explore take advantage of challenges that have already shaken the social order. They take advantage of mistakes that have challenged belief in the competence of existing institutions to be effective. It is the particular combination of an alternative ideological system and a period of community distress that are necessary conditions for radical changes in direction. The historical disruptions chronicled in this book-the rise of Christianity, rise of Islam, Protestant reformations, Age of Revolution (American and French), and Bolshevism and Nazism--will help readers understand when the preconditions exist for radical changes in the social and political order. As Disruption demonstrates, not all radical change follows paths that its original proponents might have predicted. An epilogue helps situate contemporary disruptions, from the rise of Trump and Brexit to the social and political consequences of technological change, in the wider historical forces surveyed by the book.
The life of Alexander the Great began to be retold from the moment of his death. The Greco-Roman authors used these stories as exemplars in a variety of ways. This book is concerned with the various stories of Alexander and how they were used in antiquity to promote certain policies, religious views, and value systems. The book is an original contribution to the study of the history and reception of Alexander, analysing the writings of over 70 classical and post-classical authors during a period of over 700 years. Drawing on this extensive range and quantity of material, the study plots the continuity and change of ideas from the early Roman Empire to the early Middle Ages.
Leo the Great responded to the crisis of the western empire by replacing secular Rome with a Christian universal Rome that could survive its political demise. His humanitarian theology emphasizing the human nature of Christ made this universal Rome legitimate.
Compilation of little-known and never-before-published apocryphal Christian texts in English translation This anthology of ancient nonbiblical Christian literature presents informed introductions to and readable translations of a wide range of little-known apocryphal texts, most of which have never before been translated into any modern language. An introduction to the volume as a whole addresses the most significant features of the writings included and contextualizes them within the contemporary study of the Christian Apocrypha. The body of the book comprises thirty texts that have been carefully introduced, copiously annotated, and translated into English by eminent scholars. With dates of composition ranging from the second century CE to early in the second millennium, these fascinating texts provide a more complete picture of Christian thought and expression than canonical texts alone can offer.
The T&T Clark Handbook to the Historical Paul gathers leading voices on various aspects of Paul's biography into a thorough reconsideration of him as a historical figure. The contributors show how recent trends in Pauline scholarship have invited new questions about a variety of topics, including his social location, his mode of subsistence, his cultural formation, his place within Judaism, his religious experience and practice, and his affinities with other religious actors of the Roman world. Through careful attention to biographical detail, social context, and historical method, it seeks to describe him as a contextually plausible social actor. The volume is structured in three parts. Part One introduces sources, methods, and historiographical approaches, surveying the foundational texts for Paul and the early Pauline tradition. Part Two examines key biographical questions pertaining to Paul's bodily comportment, the material aspects of his career, and his religious activities. Part Three reconstructs the biographical portraits of Paul that emerge from the letters associated with him, presenting a series of “micro-biographies” pieced together by leading Pauline scholars.
This book investigates the complexity, diversity, uniqueness and enduring significance of Jewish life in the Christian Roman Empire, from 312 to 634 C.E. During this period there occurred an unprecedented Jewish cultural explosion, encompassing the compilation and/or composition of such texts as the Palestinian Talmud, the main aggadic midrashim, an extensive magical/mystical literature, the revived apocalypse, a vast corpus of piyyutim and the beginnings of a practically oriented halakhic literature. Furthermore, this was the era of the florition of Jewish art, for it was only in the fourth century that a specifically Jewish iconographic language came into common use in synagogues and catacombs, the archaeological remains of almost all of which date from this period. This volume moves toward a synthesizing and contextualizing view of the Jewish cultural production of late antiquity, examining the interaction of Jews, Christians and pagans and with the emergence of new religious forms generated by such interaction.
How peace has been made and maintained, experienced and imagined is not only a matter of historical interest, but also of pressing concern. Peace: A World History is the first study to explore the full spectrum of peace and peacemaking from prehistoric to contemporary times in a single volume aimed at improving their prospects. By focusing on key periods, events, people, ideas and texts, Antony Adolf shows how the inspiring possibilities and pragmatic limits of peace and peacemaking were shaped by their cultural contexts and, in turn, shaped local and global histories. Diplomatic, pacifist, legal, transformative non-violent and anti-war movements are just a few prominent examples. Proposed and performed in socio-economic, political, religious, philosophical and other ways, Adolf's presentation of the diversity of peace and peacemaking challenges the notions that peace is solely the absence of war, that this negation is the only task of peacemakers, and that history is exclusively written by military victors. “Without the victories of peacemakers and the resourcefulness of the peaceful,” he contends, “there would be no history to write.” This book is essential reading for students, scholars, policy-shapers, activists and general readers involved with how present forms of peace and peacemaking have been influenced by those of the past, and how future forms can benefit by taking these into account.
Ancient biographies were more than accounts of the deeds of past heroes and guides for moral living. They were also arenas for debating pressing philosophical questions and establishing intellectual credentials, as Arthur P. Urbano argues in this study of biographies composed in Late Antiquity
In this extensive sequel to Science Education in the Early Roman Empire, Dr. Richard Carrier explores the social history of scientists in the Roman era. Was science in decline or experiencing a revival under the Romans? What was an ancient scientist thought to be and do? Who were they, and who funded their research? And how did pagans differ from their Christian peers in their views toward science and scientists? Some have claimed Christianity valued them more than their pagan forebears. In fact the reverse is the case. And this difference in values had a catastrophic effect on the future of humanity. The Romans may have been just a century or two away from experiencing a scientific revolution. But once in power, Christianity kept that progress on hold for a thousand years—while forgetting most of what the pagans had achieved and discovered, from an empirical anatomy, physiology, and brain science to an experimental physics of water, gravity, and air. Thoroughly referenced and painstakingly researched, this volume is a must for anyone who wants to learn how far we once got, and why we took so long to get to where we are today.