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This course is archived
Course date
July 21–30, 2022
Application deadline
The application process is closed.
ECTS Credits
Course delivery
SUN Packages
Tuition Waiver
Partial Scholarship
Full Scholarship

The hybrid course addresses a multidisciplinary and, at the same time, neglected topic in the history of Late Antiquity: the complex developments in the theories of legitimacies of power. Key concepts are the Empire and the Church, and their rivalry can be formulated as the struggle between the “kingdom of God” and earthly power, or in modern terms, the sacred and the secular. Various strategies had been evolved concerning this relationship, the Hellenistic, the Jewish, the various Christian ideas, and at the end of the period, the absolute theocracy of Islam. The subject has many subfields worth exploring, from the development of the imperial cult to the early liturgies to the political theology of Byzantine historiography.

Christianity offered a dominant intellectual motivation in the period. The political character of the Church quickly became clear to the representatives of the dominant Hellenistic polity of the period, the Roman Empire. By the second half of the first century CE, the Roman authorities became aware of the threat to the legitimacy of the Empire by this new, then not legitimate religion (religio illicita).

What were the reasons for the conflict, and how did it play out in the “Long Late Antiquity”? The relation of Christianity to the political sphere was by far not simple, as the constant concern about this shows it during the two millennia. The so-called “Constantinian turn”, or rather the development of imperial orthodoxy, emerged as a contrast to the opposing trend of the rejection of the Empire, represented by the City of God by Augustine. What happened before and after the “Christian turn” of the fourth century, when Christianity moved slowly from being a persecuted “sect” to the privileged religion of the Empire? How did it impact the legitimacy of the political order, and how did this change affect Christian conceptions of the secular polity? Again, how did early Islam develop its own emphatically theocratic idea in the context of Judaism and Christianity?

Since early Islam has been long considered as part of the ‘Long Late Antiquity,’ building on the successful first summer school, which covered the interval from the formation of the Church to the times of Justinian, we decided to organize a second edition, with a wider spectrum of topics and a broader chronological span.

This time, the course will take a hybrid format. Students who cannot attend the summer school onsite can connect to the course online for a special fee. Those who wish to attend the summer school in Budapest will have the opportunity to participate in various activities, including visits to the Ancient city Aquincum and the Christian catacombs in Pécs and social events.

"The academic level of the course was high, thanks to the international board. Each professor was able to lend their expertise, presenting their topics clearly and making it accessible to everyone. This allowed each student to interact with them and with the other participants, expanding the discussion with examples derived from their specific research interests. The final result was a fruitful knowledge exchange."

[the course] "was useful, since it provided me with an important historical background concerning Political Theology. As a Philosopher, it offered me the opportunity of improving the lack of knowledge regarding historical aspects of the evolution of the Political Theology question."

"As I've been working on political theology in Late Antiquity, this course seemed to be tailor-made for my research interests. It expanded my knowledge on such a complicated topic, also taking into account how it influenced the Eastern part of the Roman/Byzantine Empire (that is something that I had rarely considered before). Then, it gave me the chance to receive useful feedback on my own research."

"[...] I think that this course was useful in the sense that it had widened my comprehension on the historical period and on the different issues raised by the specific arguments dealt in the course. In particular, the seminars and the confrontations with other students were very useful in allowing me to explore new paths of research and study."

Target group

This summer school addresses MA and PhD students with interest in the emerging field of Political Theology in Late Antiquity. Advanced BA students will also be considered. 


The course requires minimal knowledge of the political and religious context of Late Antiquity. It is desirable, but not mandatory, that students have intermediate knowledge of Latin and Ancient Greek.

Language requirements 

The language of instruction is English; thus all applicants have to demonstrate a strong command of spoken and written English to be able to participate actively in discussions at seminars and workshops. 

Please read the following directions carefully.
Below is the list of the documents you need to prepare or arrange for submission:

  1. Completed online SUN Application Form (see notes below)
  2. Full curriculum vitae or resume, including a list of publications, if any 
    Please upload your Curriculum Vitae or resume, including a list of publications, if any.
  3. Statement of Purpose (max. 1,000 words)
    In the Statement of Purpose, please describe how the course is relevant to your teaching, research, or professional work, and in what way you expect to benefit from it. Please list relevant courses in the field you have taken previously during your studies. 
    Please provide a name, contact email, and phone number of a person (a faculty member, job supervisor, etc.) who can be contacted by the course directors to attest to your abilities, qualifications, and academic/professional performance.
    In case you cannot attend the course in person, please indicate in your Statement of Purpose that you wish to take part in the sessions online. 
    In addition to full attendance, online participants will be required to submit a 3,000 thousand word final paper to obtain 2 ECTS credits.
  4. Personal Statement on Financial Aid
    Those who are eligible and wish to apply for financial aid should specify their reasons in the “Personal statement on financial aid” section (Funding page of the application form). 

Optional attachments:
You can upload further optional documents on the Qualifications page such as 
academic documents that you think may be relevant to support your application in the ‘Other Supporting Documents’ section. All documents should be merged into a single PDF file not exceeding the size 2 MB. No passwords and encryption are allowed.

Completed CEU Summer University Application Form

We strongly advise the use of Google Chrome to enable the full functionality of the form.


  • You may apply to a maximum of two summer courses. In case of being admitted, you can only attend both if the two courses do not overlap in time.
  • If you applied to CEU before, please use your existing login and password to start a new application. If you do not remember your password from last year click on Forgotten Password. With technical problems, bugs, or errors related to the online application forms please contact the CEU IT Help Desk.
  • Right after login, please select the ”Summer University” radio button from the "Type of course" list, and leave all other fields empty.
  • All application materials must be submitted with the online application form(s). Materials sent by postal mail, electronic mail, or fax are not considered.
  • The maximum allowable file size for upload is 2MB per file and the acceptable file formats are PDF, JPG, and JPEG. Ensure all security features (e.g. passwords and encryption) are removed from the documents before uploading them.
  • Applications cannot be edited after submission. Please submit your application only when it is 100% final and complete.
  • Further user instructions for the online application are included in the form itself. Should you have questions regarding the application form, check the relevant Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


If you need help or more information during the application process, please feel free to contact the SUN staff via email.


The SUN Office will notify applicants about the selection results in April. Please check the 'Dates and deadlines' section on the relevant course websites for notification deadlines planned earlier or later. The final decision is not open to appeal.