Late antiquity is increasingly recognised as a period of important cultural transformation. One of its crucial aspects is the emergence of a new awareness of human individuality. In this book an interdisciplinary and international group of scholars documents and analyses this development. Authors assess the influence of seminal thinkers, including the Gnostics, Plotinus, and Augustine, but also of cultural and religious practices such as astrology and monasticism, as well as, more generally, the role played by intellectual disciplines such as grammar and Christian theology. Broad in both theme and scope, the volume serves as a comprehensive introduction to late antique understandings of human individuality.
"The problem of the individual is central to our notion of modernity. These thoughtful and deeply learned essays take us back to a thought world where the notion of the individual had begun to emerge. It did so in what to us are deeply unfamiliar circumstances - in the wrangles of Christian theologians on the nature of the Trinity, the personhood of Christ, and the resurrection of the body; in the lucubrations of Platonic philosophers on the relation of body and soul; and in the harsh testing bed of the relations between individual and community provided by the monastery. This exploration of the roots of individuality provides us with a challenging viewing point from which to reconsider the modern notion of the self." - Peter Brown, Princeton University, USA
"This study of individuality in late antiquity provides highly original new insights. It is distinctive in addressing pagan and Christian conceptions equally, and impressive in the range of issues it illuminates." - Richard Sorabji, Oxford University, UK
"Interest in the self and its formation pervades scholarly studies of late antique religion, society and
culture. The present collected volume brings much-needed conceptual clarity to a dimension of the
self often overlooked and misunderstood, the problem of individuality." - Susan Wessel, Catholic University of America