1st Edition

Strangers to Themselves: The Byzantine Outsider Papers from the Thirty-Second Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, March 1998

Edited By Dion C. Smythe Copyright 2000
    279 Pages
    by Routledge

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    March 1998 saw Byzantinists gathering together at the University of Sussex in Brighton, for the annual symposium held by the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies. Their aim was to consider the question of the 'Byzantine outsider'. Some categories of outsiders appear clear and simple: those marked out by class, race, sex, religion. But these categories are not universals. Today, historians of all periods are examining the ways in which we analyse the divisions in our societies, which can determine how we look at societies in the past. There is no consensus on who forms the 'outsider class' in modern society; it should come as no surprise that there was no consensus in Byzantium as to who the outsiders were, what they had done to deserve that status, and what the result of their attaining it should have been. The papers in this collection, drawn from the large number presented at the XXXII Spring Symposium, continue the debate about the idea of the 'Byzantine outsider'. The scholars within - theologians, historians, literary critics and art historians - present differing approaches to different aspects of the problem. The volume does not aim to have the 'last word', but rather to provoke debate and to open the field. Any examination of society that uses the concept of the outsider has implicitly within it a concept of the 'insider'. By looking at those on the margins it becomes easier to see who were - or at least thought they were - on the inside.

    Contents: The ’other’ in Byzantium, Margaret Mullett; Aliens and citizens of elsewhere: xeniteia in East Christian monastic literature, John McGuckin; Byzantine asceticism - a stranger to the Church?, Janet Rutherford; Middle Byzantine ’Tours of Hell’: outsider theodicy?, Jane Baun; John of Phoberou: a voice crying in the wilderness, Robert H. Jordan; The hermit as a stranger in the desert, Nancy Å evcenko; Exclues et aliénées: les femmes dans la tradition canonique Byzantine, Joëlle Beaucamp; Hebrews, Greeks or Romans? Jewish culture and identity in Byzantium, Nicholas de Lange; The engima of the Romaniote (Jewish-Byzantine) tombs, Hanna Jacobsohn; The Byzantine outsider in trade (c.900-c.1350), David Jacoby; Constantinople and the outside world, Paul Magdalino; Patron imagery from the fringes of the empire, Lyn Rodley; The world of fiction and the world ’out there’: the case of the Byzantine novel, Roderick Beaton; Akritis and outsiders, Elizabeth Jeffreys; Defining the foreign in Kekaumenos, C. Roueché; Procopius the outsider?, Geoffrey Greatrex; Foreigners in tenth-century Byzantium: a contribution to the history of cultural encounter, Liliana Simeonova; Byzantine conceptions of otherness after the annexation of Bulgaria (1018), Paul Stephenson; Conclusion, Robin Cormack; Index.


    Dion C. Smythe

    '... will surely become a key reference for future research in the field.' Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies