Thursday, 7 May 2015

Christian Teachers in Second-Century Rome

Christian intellectuals such as Valentinus, Justin, and Marcion have received a good deal of attention when it comes to their role in the development of early Christianity. In recent years, a new appreciation for the different strands of belief they represent has come to be widely shared by a generation of scholars seeking to think beyond the boundaries of traditional theological and historical categories. The workshop we propose, dedicated to Christian teachers and their students in second-century Rome, situates itself in this open field of inquiry. We strive to understand these individuals not simply as placeholders in the history of doctrine but rather as teachers pursuing their livelihood in the marvelously complicated fabric of urban Rome: seeking spaces in which to live and teach, attracting students, cultivating patrons, interacting with texts, and engaging in polemics with other teachers. These teachers and their students participated simultaneously in other social, commercial, and ethnic networks, and these networks will have played important roles when it came to establishing and maintaining social contacts and connections. Christian “schools” also shared many features with other groups of philosophers, litterateurs, sophists, and physicians, and a great deal can be learned by careful comparison with such groups.      With this framework in mind, participants will offer papers on important second-century Christian teachers that worked in Rome:  Justin Martyr (Fernando Rivas Rebaque), Valentinus (Christoph Markschies), the question of Valentinian “schools” (Einar Thomassen), Tatian (Miguel Herrero de Jauregui), Theodotus and his followers (H. Gregory Snyder), and Hippolytus (Marek Raczkiewicz).  Other papers deal with comparative issues or broader themes: the artistic representation of teachers in Roman art (Robin Jensen), the social context for Marcion, making connections to Jewish groups (Judith Lieu), and an overview of Christian “schools” (Angelo de Berardino). Contributors to the workshop have latitude to pursue questions of particular interest to themselves in whatever ways they see fit, but the overarching goal of the workshop is a richer and more nuanced understanding of what it meant to be a Christian teacher in second-century Rome.

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