Recent decades have seen great progress made in scholarship towards understanding the major civic role played by bishops of the eastern and western churches of Late Antiquity. Brownen Neil and Pauline Allen explore and evaluate one aspect of this civic role, the negotiation of religious conflict.
Conflict and Negotiation in the Early Church focuses on the period 500 to 700 CE, one of the least documented periods in the history of the church, but also one of the most formative, whose conflicts resonate still in contemporary Christian communities, especially in the Middle East.
To uncover the hidden history of this period and its theological controversies, Neil and Allen have tapped a little known written source, the letters that were exchanged by bishops, emperors and other civic leaders of the sixth and seventh centuries. This was an era of crisis for the Byzantine empire, at war first with Persia, and then with the Arab forces united under the new faith of Islam. Official letters were used by the churches of Rome and Constantinople to pursue and defend their claims to universal and local authority, a constant source of conflict. As well as the east-west struggle, Christological disagreements with the Syrian church demanded increasing attention from the episcopal and imperial rulers in Constantinople, even as Rome set itself adrift and looked to the West for new allies.
From this troubled period, 1500 letters survive in Greek, Latin, and Syriac. With translations of a number of these, many rendered into English for the first time, Conflict and Negotiation in the Early Church examines the ways in which diplomatic relations between churches were developed, and in some cases hindered or even permanently ruptured, through letter-exchange at the end of Late Antiquity.
The religious transformations that marked late antiquity represent an enigma that has challenged some of the West’s greatest thinkers. But, according to Guy Stroumsa, the oppositions between paganism and Christianity that characterize prevailing theories have endured for too long. Instead of describing this epochal change as an evolution within the Greco-Roman world from polytheism to monotheism, he argues that the cause for this shift can be found not so much around the Mediterranean as in the Near East.
The End of Sacrifice points to the role of Judaism, particularly its inventions of new religious life following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. The end of animal sacrifice gave rise to new forms of worship, with a concern for personal salvation, scriptural study, rituals like praying and fasting, and the rise of religious communities and monasticism. It is what Christianity learned from Judaism about texts, death, and, above all, sacrifice that allowed it to supersede Greco-Roman religions and, Stroumsa argues, transform religion itself.
A concise and original approach to a much-studied moment in religious history, The End of Sacrifice will be heralded by all scholars of late antiquity.
From Monastery to Hospital traces the origin of the late Roman hospital to the earliest groups of Christian monastics. Often characterized as holy men and miracle-workers who transformed late antique spirituality, monks held an equally significant impact on the development of medicine in Late Antiquity. Andrew Crislip illuminates the innovative approaches to health care within the earliest monasteries that provided the model for the greatest medical achievement of Late Antiquity: the hospital.
From Monastery to Hospital draws on some of the most vibrant areas of scholarship of the ancient world, including asceticism, the study of the body, history of the family, and the history of medicine. The book will be of interest to scholars and students of early Christianity, Roman History, the history of medicine, and Catholic, Coptic, and Eastern Orthodox history and theology. It will also be of interest to the broader field of history of Christianity, especially with its connections to charitable traditions in the church through the modern period.
Andrew Crislip is Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Hawaii.
To understand the past, we necessarily group people together and, consequently, frequently assume that all of its members share the same attributes. In this ground-breaking volume, Eric Rebillard and Jörg Rüpke bring renowned scholars together to challenge this norm by seeking to rediscover the individual and to explore the dynamics between individuals and the groups to which they belong.
Volume 2 of History of Biblical Interpretation deals with the most extensive period under examination in this four-volume set. It begins in Asia Minor in the late fourth century with Bishop Theodore of Mopsuestia, the founder of a school of interpretation that sought to accentuate the literal meaning of the Bible and thereby stood out from the tradition of antiquity. It ends with another outsider, a thousand years later in England, who by the presuppositions of his thought stood at the end of an era: John Wyclif. In between these two interpreters, this volume presents the history of biblical interpretation from late antiquity until the end of the Middle Ages by examining the lives, works, and interpretive practices of Didymus the Blind, Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Isidore of Seville, the Venerable Bede, Alcuin, John Scotus Eriugena, Abelard, Rupert of Deutz, Hugo of St. Victor, Joachim of Fiore, Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, Rashi, Abraham ibn Ezra, and Nicolas of Lyra.
The Jews in Late Antiquity
Rodrigo Laham Cohen Arc Humanities Press, 2018 Library of Congress DS123.5.L35 2018 | Dewey Decimal 956.9402
The lack of source material makes it challenging, but this short book uses the available evidence to present facts and debates around Jews in late antiquity and to provide a first step towards the understanding of this little-known period in Jewish history. It focuses on seven different regions: Italy, North Africa (except Egypt), Gaul, Spain, Egypt, the Land of Israel, and Babylonia.
In The Kindness of Strangers, John Boswell argues persuasively that child abandonment was a common and morally acceptable practice from antiquity until the Renaissance. Using a wide variety of sources, including drama and mythological-literary texts as well as demographics, Boswell examines the evidence that parents of all classes gave up unwanted children, "exposing" them in public places, donating them to the church, or delivering them in later centuries to foundling hospitals. The Kindness of Strangers presents a startling history of the abandoned child that helps to illustrate the changing meaning of family.
The question of masculinity formed a key part of the intellectual life of late antiquity and was crucial to the development of Christian society. This idea is at the heart of Mathew Kuefler's new book, which revisits the Roman Empire during the third and fifth centuries of the common era. Kuefler argues that the collapse of the Roman army, an increasingly autocratic government, and growing restrictions on the traditional rights of men within marriage and sexuality all led to an endemic crisis in masculinity: men of Roman aristocracy, who had always felt themselves to be soldiers, statesmen, and the heads of households, became, by their own definition, unmanly.
The cultural and demographic success of Christianity during this epoch lay in the ability of its leaders to recognize and respond to this crisis. Drawing on the tradition of gender ambiguity in early Christian teachings, which included Jesus's exhortation that his followers "make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven," Christian writers and thinkers crafted a new masculine ideal, one that took advantage of the changing social realities in Rome, inverted the Roman model of manliness, and helped solidify Christian ideology by reinstating the masculinity of its adherents.
Recent publications on urbanism and the rural environment in Late Antiquity, most of which explore a single region or narrow chronological niche, have emphasized either textual or archeological evidence. None has attempted the more ambitious task of bringing together the full range of such evidence within a multiregional perspective and around common themes. Urban Centers and Rural Contexts seeks to redress this omission.
While ancient literature and the physical remains of cities attest to the power that urban values held over the lives of their inhabitants, the rural areas in which the majority of imperial citizens lived have not been well served by the historical record. Only recently have archeological excavations and integrated field surveys sufficiently enhanced our knowledge of the rural contexts to demonstrate the continuing interdependence of urban centers and rural communities in Late Antiquity. These new data call into question the conventional view that this interdependence progressively declined as a result of governmental crises, invasions, economic dislocation, and the success of Christianization.
The essays in this volume require us to abandon the search for a single model of urban and rural change; to reevaluate the cities and towns of the Empire as centers of habitation, rather than archeological museums; and to reconsider the evidence of continuous and pervasive cultural change across the countryside. Deploying a wide range of material as well as literary evidence, the authors provide access not only into the world of élites, but also to the scarcely known lives of those without a voice in the literature, those men and women who worked in the shops, labored in the fields, and humbled themselves before their gods. They bring us closer to the complexity of life in late ancient communities and, in consequence, closer to both urban and rural citizens.
This book argues that pre-modern societies were characterized by a common quest for human flourishing or excellence, i.e. virtue. The history of virtue is a particularly fruitful approach when studying pre-modern periods. Systems of moral philosophy and more day-to-day moral ideas and practices in which virtue was central were incredibly important in pre-modern societies within and among diverse scholarly, literary, religious and social communities. Virtue was a cornerstone of pre-modern societies, permeating society in many different ways, and on many different levels, and it was conveyed in erudite and pedagogical texts, ritual, performance and images. The construction of virtues such as wisdom, courage, and justice helped shape identities and communities, but also served to legitimize and reinforce differences pertaining to gender, social hierarchies, and nations. On a more fundamental level, studying the history of virtue helps us understand the guiding principles of historical action. Thus, we believe that the history of virtue is central to understanding these societies, and that the history of virtue, including criticisms of virtue and virtue ethics, tells us important things about how men and women thought and acted in ages past.