Christian Politics and Religious Culture in Late Antiquity: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Christian Politics and Religious Culture in Late Antiquity

1st Edition

By Neil McLynn


334 pages

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Hardback: 9780754659921
pub: 2009-09-04
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These essays deal with two central preoccupations: the new styles of political behaviour developed by Christian rulers and Christian congregations during the century or so after Constantine's conversion, and the experiments in religious self-presentation which are reflected in our sources from the same period. The first topic is covered in papers dealing with such activities as outbursts of popular rioting and exhibitions of imperial penance, and with legislation by emperors and lobbying by bishops; the second in papers on the inscriptions erected by pagan aristocrats, on the self-images presented by Christian autobiographers, and on the motives behind Christian anthologizing. The two themes converge in the central section, focusing on Gregory Nazianzen. These papers are conceived as preliminary studies for a forthcoming book which will analyse his involvement in local and imperial politics, and the resourcefulness of his successive exercises in self-advertisement. They show him involving himself in family disputes, civic life and literary culture, reshaping the legacy of his friend Basil and shaping his own identity as an independent holy man, beyond reach of his obligations to family, city and church


’Neil B. McLynn’s book on politics and culture in late antiquity is an invaluable resource tool, offering a rare glimpse of Christian history during the fourth century. … His work is well researched, amply cited, and should be viewed as a treasure trove of information regarding an often misunderstood period of early Christianity.’ Catholic Books Review

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Part A Religious/Christian Politics: The transformation of imperial churchgoing in the 4th century; Christian controversy and violence in the 4th century; 'Genere hispanus': Theodosius, Spain and Nicene orthodoxy; Augustine's Roman Empire. Part B Gregory Nazianzen: Cultural Politics in Christian Cappadocia: A self-made holy man: the case of Gregory Nazianzen; The other Olympias: Gregory Nazianzen and the family of Vitalianus; Gregory Nazianzen's Basil: the literary construction of a Christian friendship; Among the hellenists: Gregory and the sophists; Curiales into churchmen: the case of Gregory Nazianzen. Part C Religious Culture: What was the 'Philocalia of Origen'?; The 4th-century Taurobolium; Disciplines of discipleship in late antique education: Augustine and Gregory Nazianzen; Paulinus the Impenitent: a study of the eucharisticos; Index.

About the Author

Neil McLynn is University Lecturer in Later Roman History and Fellow of Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford, UK

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General