Early christianity, History of ideas, Late antiquity, Patristics, Political theology

Course date

19 July - 26 July, 2021
Application for this course is closed.
Course Director(s): 

Gyorgy Gereby

Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Course Faculty: 

Mark Edwards

Christ Church, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Paweł Figurski

Institute of History, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland, Warsaw

Michael Hollerich

College of Arts and Science, Theology Department, University of Saint Thomas, St. Paul MN, United States of America

Andra Juganaru

Department of Theology and Christian Culture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Ecaterina Lung

Department of Ancient History, Archaeology and Art History, University of Bucharest, Romania

Volker Menze

Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Claudia Rapp

Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, University of Vienna, Austria

Marco Rizzi

Department of Religious Studies, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Brescia, Italy
The course addresses an important topic in the history of Late Antiquity and Early Christianity: the theories of legitimacies, namely that of the Empire and the Church, and their struggle over the first six hundred years (from the first century to Justinian).
What were the reasons for the conflict and how did it play out in Late Antiquity? The relation of Christianity to the secular political sphere has been a constant concern for two millennia, starting with a rejection of the legitimacy of the Roman Empire and then accepting the Christian Roman Empire, symbolized by Constantine, the pagan Emperor, who convened the first Ecumenical Synod in Nicaea. 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 and the Christian Church itself?
This seven-day summer school examines the dynamics of the interrelation of the political and the various ecclesiastical theories from the first century until another turning point which arrived with emperor Justinian. The course focuses on the theoretical aspects, which had been often neglected in the accounts of the political history of this period, thus providing the students with new research tools.
The course is primarily addressed to MA and PhD students interested in Late Antique political thought and Patristic Studies, since it will take place two years after the Oxford Patristic Conference (19-24 August 2019), the most significant scholarly event of Patristic Studies, organized every four years, but inaccessible to MA and PhD students despite its importance. The source persons are distinguished international scholars working on philosophy, the social and political history of Late Antiquity, Patristic, canon law, liturgy and monasticism. 
The online course (since the COVID-19 pandemic still requires it) would represent a unique opportunity of examining a problem from a multidimensional perspective which has always remained challenging in the following centuries up to the present, in every region where Christianity spread.  
The summer school will consist of seven days of seminars and tutorials (on demand) and virtual visits to the National History Museum of Budapest, to Aquincum and to Pécs to the early Christian cemeteries.