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Between Man and God: Family, Friendship, and Ties of the Flesh in Late Antiquity

Postgraduate Conference (Oxford, Manchester, Birmingham, Cambridge)

Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge

14th May 2011
Our intention is to explore the evolving institutions and frameworks, enshrined in law and communal mores, in which human relationships were structured during Late Antiquity, as the impact of Christianity made itself progressively more strongly felt. Furthermore, we will examine how the theology and rhetoric of many aspects of Christianity were themselves informed by contemporary conceptions of human relations.

The papers will be arranged thematically into two panels, with the first exploring 'lighter', more optimistic approaches to human relationships in Late Antiquity, such as examining the developing metaphorical languages of families, friendship, and kinship in the context of, and in their impact upon, Christian doctrine and institutions. Conversely in the second, 'darker' panel, our speakers will investigate changing approaches towards understanding the (sometimes violent) end of relationships in Late Antiquity, and contemporary concerns that particular human relationships served not to enrich the life of the Christian community, but to throw up barriers between men, and to interrupt man's most fundamental relationship: that with God Himself. Discussion will be enlivened by the thoughts of the senior faculty respondents - Neil McLynn (Oxford) and Kate Cooper (Manchester), and by the overview and analysis provided by our plenary speaker, Jerry Toner (Cambridge).

We would like to thank the Faculty of Classics, Cambridge, for its very generous support for this conference.


10.45 Registration

11.15 Session 1 The Light Side
(Chair: Robin Whelan, Cambridge)

Maria Kilby (Cambridge), Augustine's Donatist Brothers

Jenny Thompson (Oxford), Self-mortification, sex and sin: Jerome as Uncle Knobhead?

Emma Southon (Birmingham), Late Antique Christianity and the Development of the Nurturing Mother

Respondent: Kate Cooper (Manchester)

3.45 Session 2 The Dark Side
(Chair: Luke Gardiner, Cambridge)

Tamer Nawar (Cambridge), Adiutrix Virtutum (A Handmade to the Virtues) ? Confessiones 1-4 and the Perils of Friendship

James Corke-Webster (Manchester), Generation Gaps: Martyrs and their Families in the Writings of the Early Christian Church

Riccardo Bof (Manchester), TBC
Respondent: Neil McLynn (Oxford)

5.15 Plenary Session
Chair: Muriel Moser (Cambridge)
Plenary Speaker: Jerry Toner (Cambridge)

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