This groundbreaking study brings into dialogue for the first time the writings of Julian, the last non-Christian Roman Emperor, and his most outspoken critic, Bishop Gregory of Nazianzus, a central figure of Christianity. Susanna Elm compares these two men not to draw out the obvious contrast between the Church and the Emperor’s neo-Paganism, but rather to find their common intellectual and social grounding. Her insightful analysis, supplemented by her magisterial command of sources, demonstrates the ways in which both men were part of the same dialectical whole. Elm recasts both Julian and Gregory as men entirely of their times, showing how the Roman Empire in fact provided Christianity with the ideological and social matrix without which its longevity and dynamism would have been inconceivable.
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In this magisterial study, Susanna Elm illuminates fresh and persuasive connections between intellectual life and imperial politics in the late Roman empire, describing complex concepts with consummate ease and in a splendidly fluent style. Sons of Hellenism is a model of what a history of ideas should be.” John Anthony McGuckin, Professor of Byzantine Christian History, Columbia University
With this book, Susanna Elm has blown an irreparable hole in the wall that has long separated the study of philosophy, theology, and politics in the ancient world. Sons of Hellenism is an intellectual tour de force and a master work in every respect.” H.A. Drake, author of Constantine and the Bishops: The Politics of Intolerance
Susanna Elm is Sidney H. Ehrman Professor of History and Classics at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Virgins of God: The Making of Asceticism in Late Antiquity.
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