M. Kulikowski, The Triumph of Empire: The Roman World from Hadrian to Constantine

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Michael Kulikowski, The Triumph of Empire: The Roman World from Hadrian to Constantine, Cambridge [MA], 2016.

Éditeur : Harvard University Press
400 pages
ISBN : 9780674659612
35 $

 

The Triumph of Empire takes readers into the political heart of imperial Rome and recounts the extraordinary challenges overcome by a flourishing empire. Michael Kulikowski's history begins with the reign of Hadrian, who visited the farthest reaches of his domain and created stable frontiers, and spans to the decades after Constantine the Great, who overhauled the government, introduced a new state religion, and founded a second Rome.

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K. Pollmann, The Baptized Muse. Early Christian Poetry as Cultural Authority

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Karla Pollmann, The Baptized Muse. Early Christian Poetry as Cultural Authority, Oxford, 2017.

Éditeur : Oxford University Press
288 pages
ISBN : 9780198726487
55 £

With the rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire increasing numbers of educated people converted to this new belief. As Christianity did not have its own educational institutions the issue of how to harmonize pagan education and Christian convictions became increasingly pressing. Especially classical poetry, the staple diet of pagan education, was considered to be morally corrupting (due to its deceitful mythological content) and damaging for the salvation of the soul (because of the false gods it advocated). But Christianity recoiled from an unqualified anti-intellectual attitude, while at the same time the experiment of creating an idiosyncratic form of genuinely Christian poetry failed (the sole exception being the poet Commodianus). In The Baptized Muse: Early Christian Poetry as Cultural Authority, Karla Pollmann argues that, instead, Christian poets made creative use of the classical literary tradition, and—in addition to blending it with Judaeo-Christian biblical exegesis—exploited poetry's special ability of enhancing communicative effectiveness and impact through aesthetic means. Pollman explores these strategies through a close analysis of a wide range of Christian, and for comparison partly also pagan, writers mainly from the fourth to sixth centuries. She reveals that early Christianity was not a hermetically sealed uniform body, but displays a rich spectrum of possibilities in dealing with the past and a willingness to engage with and adapt the surrounding culture(s), thereby developing diverse and changing responses to historical challenges. By demonstrating throughout that authority is a key in understanding the long denigrated and misunderstood early Christian poets, this book reaches the ground-breaking conclusion that early Christian poetry is an art form that gains its justification by adding cultural authority to Christianity. Thus, in a wider sense it engages with the recently developed interdisciplinary scholarly interest in aspects of religion as cultural phenomena.

 

Source : Oxford University Press

 

M. Hammond et M. Goodman, Josephus. The Jewish War

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Martin Hammond et Martin Goodman (éd.), Josephus. The Jewish War, Oxford, 2017.

Éditeur : Oxford University Press
Collection : Oxford World's Classics
608 pages
ISBN : 9780199646029
10,99 £

'I am Josephus...I myself fought against the Romans'
In August of AD 70 the city of Jerusalem was destroyed by Roman forces after a six-month siege. This was the disastrous outcome of a Jewish revolt against Roman domination which began in AD 66 with some early success, but soon became mired in factional conflict. The war ended in the destruction of the famous Jewish Temple (rebuilt by Herod the Great a century before).
The remarkable story of the war is narrated by an eye-witness and participant, Josephus. He was at first a rebel commander, then after his capture, supported Titus in the final assault on Jerusalem. Josephus spares no detail of a horrific conflict - atrocities on both sides, the reign of terror in Jerusalem, the appalling conditions of the siege, and the final mass suicide at Masada. His vivid narrative is our prime source for this period of history. It is a dramatic story, with resonances to the present day.

 

Source : Oxford University Press

 

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