End-of-Year Fellowship Report for 2002-03
The subject of my project was religious conflict in the later Roman Empire. In approaching the subject, I raised three interrelated questions:
(1) How did Christian contemporaries legitimize and justify recourse to force to impose religious uniformity during that period?
(2) Why did the late Roman state and most Christian leaders abandon a Christian tradition of religious tolerance to adopt an intolerant attitude towards religious difference?
(3) Why did ordinary Christians participate so passionately in episodes of religious violence?
These questions were in fact at the heart of my dissertation which is now being revised for publication. As I began the work of revision, it became clear to me that I could not proceed further without reflecting more carefully on these issues. Being a fellow at the Center helped me to do that. First, the fellowship allowed me precious time off teaching which I used for research and writing. Having more time for research was the single most important contributing factor in advancing my work. Secondly, I greatly profited from the comparative insights derived from Center events and seminars. Thirdly, the comments on my own work by other fellows, Center faculty and staff also proved invaluable. Finally, the interaction with other fellows, Center faculty and staff in seminars and other events helped to create a lively intellectual environment that was conducive to research.
During the term of the fellowship, I completed the revision of three chapters of my book manuscript, and wrote two conference papers which will appear in print next year.
Presentations, publications, etc. (listed only those directly connected to my Center project):
Conference papers to appear in print next year
“New Ways of Being Christian: Christian Controversy and the Expansion of Christianity,” Symposium on the Expansion of Christianity in the First Four Centuries, Department of History and Center for the Ancient Mediterranean, Columbia University, New York, NY, March 30, 2003.
“Popular Mobilization and Violence in Alexandria in the Early Arian Controversy,” Conference: Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity, Santa barbara, CA, March 20-23, 2003 (Travel supported with Center funds).