Melania and Melania: Two Vexing Icons of Early Christianity

by Caroline T. Schroeder, co-editor of Melania: Early Christianity through the Life of One Family

This guest post is part of a blog series related to Christianity in Late Antiquity, the official book series of the North American Patristics Society, which meets May 25-27 in Chicago for their annual conference. #NAPS2017


If you say the name Melania to your friends and family, what words come to their minds?  Wealth, fame for sure.  And perhaps recluse, devoted mother, though perhaps not devoted wife.

Tell them if they really want to read about a controversial and vexing Melania, they have two even more intense icons to choose from. Melania the Elder and her granddaughter Melania the Younger had wealth and fame to spare. Despite their ascetic commitments — even because of them — they were no recluses.  As two of the richest and most influential Christians in late antiquity, they traveled the Mediterranean, building institutions (monasteries and churches), patronizing important early Christian writers, and lobbying the imperial family.  True, Melania the Elder was once imprisoned, and Melania the Younger once sequestered herself in a tiny cell in her monastery.  Yet these moments of confinement, while telling, were not defining. Neither locked themselves behind the gates of their estates.  Instead both women were praised by late antique authors for their roles as architects of an emerging church.

Such influence did not put the Melanias beyond controversy, ancient or modern.  Although spiritual mothers to many of their fellow ascetics, neither dedicated their lives to the physical care of biological children.  Melania the Younger’s children died young, and her grandmother famously left her son behind in Rome to pursue her ascetic career.  Melania the Elder also ruffled the feathers of none other than the famous Jerome.  As several contributors to this book (Luckritz Marquis, Doerfler, Krawiec, and Darling Young) show us, this conflict with Jerome helped shape definitions of heresy and orthodoxy during the Origenist controversy and most certainly affected later Christian tradition’s memory of her.  Melania the Younger, her hagiographer tells us, went even so far as to interrupt and challenge Augustine, in what Susanna Drake calls a “curious case of scriptus interruptus” (171).  Jumping to the twentieth century, Melania the Younger “went viral” (as the kids say) when Cardinal Rampolla published her vita in 1905.  As Michael Penn recounts in the book, the story of the “richest woman in history” rebounded in the popular press. I find myself frequently returning to Elizabeth Castelli’s reading of the Melanias and “The Future of Sainthood.”  Castelli reminds us that these women’s ancient virtues remain provocations for modern readers.  For example, their status as slaveholders was an unquestioned part of their “birthright” in their own time, but one that disturbs the sensibilities of ours.

The work of my co-authors reminds me that we often see in the Melanias what we want to see.  They become ciphers for each interpreter’s own struggles with power and resistance.  Did Melania the Elder abandon her maternal duty or embrace a higher calling?  Was the patronage of Evagrius a dangerous slide into heresy or a courageous display of intellectual and political strength?  Is the swat of a hand a reminder of protocol or a refusal to perform on someone else’s terms?  Reading and writing about the Melanias in ways that reckon with these women as individual agents while simultaneously illuminating the social and discursive networks in which they operate requires tenacity, finesse, and scholarly self-reflection.  One of the privileges of editing this book was witnessing my co-authors write with such qualities, unearthing the many Melanias of history and legacy.  Many of us have learned (or, speaking for myself, have tried to learn) this kind of scholarship from the woman whose work inspires this volume:  Elizabeth A. Clark.  Clark was of course President of the North American Patristics Society and a founding editor of its journal,  the Journal of Early Christian Studies.  As Randall Styers writes in the afterword to the book, Clark’s scholarship has been “in the vanguard” of the field, “exerting enormous energy, creativity, and methodological innovation as she worked to remake the craft of late ancient history” and religion. (284)   Clark, too, is an architect of the field we have become. 

Early Christian studies is now a field that takes seriously theology and history while producing new critical theories of religion and gender, and one that does not shy away from examining its own history and politics.  And thus, we are thrilled that Melania, which wrestles with all of these theoretical threads, appears in our Society’s book series.


Caroline T. Schroeder is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of the Pacific and author of Monastic Bodies: Discipline and Salvation in Shenoute of Atripe. She is co-editor of Melania: Early Christianity through the Life of One Family with Catherine M. Chin, Associate Professor of Classics at the University of California, Davis and author of Grammar and Christianity in the Late Roman World.


Late Antiquity and World History: Challenging Conventional Narratives and Analyses

By Mark Humphries, published in Studies in Late Antiquity 1.1 (read the first issue free!)

This article excerpt is part of a blog series related to the North American Patristics Society, which meets May 25-27 in Chicago for their annual conference. #NAPS2017


Introduction

This article [published in Studies in Late Antiquity 1.1] offers an unashamedly personal set of challenges to conventional approaches to the study of late antiquity. In particular, it recommends that some of the impasses that currently bedevil debates in the discipline might be overcome by adopting a more world-historical approach to the subject. By that I mean not only seeing the history of late antiquity in a wider geographical perspective, but also a viewpoint that adopts an ethical stance that challenges the current paradigms within which late antiquity is debated: as I argue below, conventional accounts of the period focus their narratives around the experiences of the Roman Empire and, therefore, articulate an essentially western and Eurocentric interpretation of historical development. Of course, many specialists in the field are already making significant advances away from this western-dominated narrative; nevertheless, it strikes me as a worthwhile exercise to draw the strands of the debate together and to offer pointers to possible future directions.

Given the scope of the undertaking implicit in this recommendation, the enquiry presented here can only offer a brief overview of the themes and issues I want to contest: the examples cited below could be multiplied exponentially, and I aim to investigate many of the issues in more detail in the future. In other words, what is presented here is only the beginning of a larger project. I should also clarify that the outcomes of what I suggest here might take many forms. I have written this article mainly with an eye to research agendas; but there is no reason why some of the perspectives recommended here could not also be imported into a classroom setting, where they would surely provoke interesting discussions. But to begin with, and in order to demonstrate how ingrained the conventional approaches I wish to challenge have become, I present a narrative that will seem, at first, wholly familiar.

A victory had been won and the ruler wanted to celebrate it. The barbarians, true to form, had been duplicitous and had broken the treaty. Now a great hosting of them (Goths, Germans, and others) had invaded the empire, but they were no match for the empire’s forces and had been utterly defeated. Many of the enemy had been slain in bloody vengeance for their treacherous behaviour in starting the war. More importantly, many of their leading men had been captured; best of all, their king had been captured alive. He would make a fine ornament for the ruler’s victory celebrations at his capital, a living example of the ruler’s indomitable power, a figure to be humiliated and put on public display. Such a great victory also deserved a permanent commemoration in text and image, so reliefs and inscriptions were set up showing the ruler in all his might lording it over his abject, cowering foe.

Such images are familiar to us from Roman imperial and late-antique monuments, like the reliefs from the now lost triumphal monument of Marcus Aurelius or from the extant arch of Septimius Severus in Rome, or those that decorate the obelisk base of Theodosius I in the hippodrome in Constantinople. But the set of victories and commemorations I have been describing so far do not come from that familiar context. Rather, the triumphant ruler was Shapur I, shahanshah of Sasanian Persia; the defeated barbarians were the Romans; and the captive king the emperor Valerian in 260 C.E. For humiliating display, I have in mind the tradition that Shapur used Valerian as a stool when mounting his horse or getting into his carriage, and that later, when the emperor died, his corpse was flayed and his skin tanned to provide a more permanent trophy. As for the epigraphic and visual commemorations, I mean the so-called Res Gestae Divi Saporis, the great trilingual inscription recording Shapur’s victories, and the rock reliefs at Naqsh-i Rustam and Bishapur, showing his triumph over not only Valerian, but Gordian III and Philip the Arab too. If, however, anyone steeped in Roman imperial or late-antique history had assumed that my earlier description alluded to the victories of a Marcus, Severus, or Theodosius, their misapprehension would be wholly understandable, for they have been conditioned to think of a world centred on Rome, Constantinople, and the Mediterranean.

That this should be the case attests to the profound influence on modern perceptions of a supposedly “normative” world view underwritten by traditional, classical geographical divisions of the world into a civilized centre and barbaric periphery. In this traditional schema, Persians, like other non-Romans, inhabit the margins of the map. Such a world-view underpins classical and classicising historiography, and can be found, for instance, in the fourth-century Latin historian Ammianus Marcellinus’ celebrated description of the Huns as being “abnormally savage” and living “beyond the Maeotic sea, near the frozen ocean.” He goes on to catalogue their lifestyle in a form that reads like a negative checklist of the accoutrements of civilization as it was viewed by the Greeks and Romans: the Huns lack every marker of civilized life, from fire, to cities, to politics, and are only acknowledged begrudgingly as human. They are, therefore, doubly remote from civilization, in terms of both their geographical distance and their lack of cultural attainments.

But the achievements of Shapur I, and his epigraphic and monumental commemoration of them, remind us that other perspectives, not centred on the classical Mediterranean, are possible. It is these perspectives that I want to explore here, and I organise my reflections as follows. First I offer a survey of late-antique perspectives on the world, showing their variety and complexity, and how they demonstrate that the Mediterranean-centred perspective of classical and classicising historiography is not the only view possible. Next, I discuss how the traditional shape of late antiquity has been made to fit into a customary western, and essentially Eurocentric, view of history – and how this might be regarded as deeply problematic. The final part of the article considers how that traditional view might be challenged by adopting an approach that is more sensitive both to the multiple local perspectives outlined in the first part of the discussion and to global contexts; this in turn shows how, by advocating a more world-historical perspective on events, we can challenge traditional narratives of the period, and see events in a new light.

Continue reading at sla.ucpress.edu.


Mark Humphries is a Professor of Ancient History at Swansea University, having previously held appointments at St Andrews, Leicester, Manchester, and the National University of Ireland Maynooth.


Better Git It in Your Soul Wins ‘Jazz Book of the Year’ Award

Congratulations to Krin Gabbard on winning the Jazz Journalists Association‘s 2017 ‘Jazz Book of the Year’ for Better Git It in Your Soul: An Interpretive Biography of Charles Mingus.

In addition to this significant recognition, Gabbard’s book has garnered praise from many corners:

“Will likely long stand as the definitive account of the genius, and enigma, that was this great bassist, bandleader, and composer. Certainly no one has heretofore delved as deeply and thoroughly into what made him tick.”—W. Royal Stokes Blog

“‘Better Git It In Your Soul draws the reader to listening to its subject’s productions. If already familiar with Mingus’ music, a reader may return to favorites with fresh ears and deeper insights. . . . Gabbard’s greatest personal contribution to understanding Mingus is his contextualization of events through his own broad, well-informed perspective.”—DownBeat

“Offers several lenses through which to view Mingus and his music. . . . There is much in Better Git It In Your Soul to limn one’s understanding of and approach to Mingus’ tremendous body of work as well as the challenges he faced and orchestrated as a black artist in America.”—The New York City Jazz Record

“This is a wonderful book! This book completely absorbed me. . . . You really took me in with your own emotional palette.”—NPR/On Point with Tom Ashbrook

“This isn’t simply a new telling of Mingus’ life story, although Gabbard does an excellent job of that in just under 100 concise and nicely paced pages. Gabbard also takes a deep dive into specific aspects of Mingus’ output. Most notably, he performs forensic work in exploring how Beneath the Underdog came to be.”—PopMatters

To get yourself a copy of this keeper, save 30% by entering discount code 16M4197 at checkout.


Krin Gabbard retired after thirty-three years of teaching at Stony Brook University, and he now teaches in the jazz studies program at Columbia University. His previous books include Hotter than That: The Trumpet, Jazz, and American Culture and Jammin’ at the Margins: Jazz and the American Cinema. He lives in New York City with his wife, Paula, and he is busy playing his trumpet and writing a memoir about his parents.


Why Late Antiquity (and All History) Needs Twits

by Andrew S. Jacobs, author of Epiphanius of Cyprus: A Cultural Biography of Late Antiquity

This guest post is part of a blog series related to Christianity in Late Antiquity, the official book series of the North American Patristics Society, which meets May 25-27 in Chicago for their annual conference. #NAPS2017


“What a twit.” So a wise colleague recently described Epiphanius of Cyprus (d. 403), the oft-maligned subject of my recent book.

At a conference in March, another prominent historian described Epiphanius as “the stupidest of all Church Fathers.”

In conversations with friends and fellow scholars while writing Epiphanius of Cyprus, I heard him called “horrible” and “a liar.”

To be sure, Epiphanius — monk, bishop, controversialist, and author of a massive, multi-volume encyclopedia of heresies characterized by invective, mendacity, and intolerance — was probably not a nice person. But the pages of history books are not populated by “nice guys”: so why the persistent distaste for Epiphanius? This scholarly aversion to Epiphanius is a puzzle I return to in the concluding chapter of Epiphanius of Cyprus, a puzzle compounded by Epiphanius’s undeniable prominence in his own day and time: a celebrity among monks and bishops, dismissed (or, at the least, marginalized) as a liar and twit by scholars today.

I have no interest in promoting Epiphanius’s intellect (although he probably wasn’t so much stupid as he was unphilosophical) and I have no interest in making us like him (he certainly wouldn’t care for me). But I do believe that history-writing is always to some extent an exercise in answering pressing issues in the present by reimagining traces of the past. We find certain persons, texts, and events “interesting” precisely because of our own interests (meaning both our engagements and our stakes). If Epiphanius seems not to fit into our histories, it is because he works against those interests.

What kind of past are we determined to create that has no room for Epiphanius? Why doesn’t our late antiquity have room for twits?

The writing of history, like any cultural production, is a story we want to tell about ourselves. Late antiquity — born in the colonial 19th century, nourished in the postcolonial 1950s, and matured in the multicultural 1970s — was a period of intellectual ferment, transformation, and rebirth, a Eurasian renaissance from which emerged new thinking, new arts, and new religions. It reversed the sneering disdain of Enlightenment historians like Edward Gibbon. It claimed as its mascots the great thinkers and idea men (and, in more recent years, idea women), impresarios of change and authors of new worlds. It is entirely understandable that we would want to produce a late antiquity from which we might imagine a better present and future for ourselves.

History-writing, like all culture-making, is about inclusions and exclusions, about viewing our world with certain blinders. Epiphanius was perhaps a twit, certainly intolerant, absolutely dedicated to finding and rooting out “the other” from his orthodox empire. To exclude him from our culture-making forays into the past, however, is to leave ourselves open to all sorts of unpleasant surprises about the world we inhabit in the present. Epiphanius’s prominence in late antiquity was not, I argue, a fluke but rather the dark side of a new, transformative, diverse world being born. I am not calling for a return to Gibbon’s sneering condemnation of late antiquity, but rather a more clear-eyed appreciation of all of its shadows and nuances.

We may not like the twits of history, but without facing them head on we are disarming ourselves against them in the present and the future.


Andrew S. Jacobs is Professor of Religious Studies and Mary W. and J. Stanley Johnson Professor of Humanities at Scripps College in Claremont, California. He is the author of Remains of the Jews: The Holy Land and Christian Empire in Late Antiquity and Christ Circumcised: A Study in Early Christian History and Difference.


Are Contemporary Political Movements Ancient “Heresies” in Disguise?

by Yonatan Moss, author of Incorruptible Bodies: Christology, Society, and Authority in Late Antiquity

This guest post is part of a blog series related to Christianity in Late Antiquity, the official book series of the North American Patristics Society, which meets May 25-27 in Chicago for their annual conference. #NAPS2017


In 1959 the British historian of the Roman Empire, A. H. M. Jones, published an influential article entitled “Were Ancient Heresies Political or Social Movements in Disguise?”. Despite the interrogatory pose assumed in its title, Jones’s essay was more of a response than a question. It responded to the then regnant understanding among historians that the series of “heretical” movements that rocked the late ancient Roman imperial church were motivated by national aspirations and social grievances. Jones effectively showed that this was not at all the case. National and social concerns were, Jones argued, predominantly modern categories which the historians of his day had anachronistically imposed upon the theologically-minded inhabitants of the later Roman Empire.

My recent book, Incorruptible Bodies: Christology, Society and Authority in Late Antiquity, studies one of those late ancient “heresies” examined by Jones: the group now commonly referred to as the Miaphysite movement. The Miaphysites (from Greek mia-one, physis-nature) disputed the definition reached at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, according to which there are two natures, one human and one divine, in Christ. Contrary to the imperial administration’s enforcement of Chalcedon as official policy, millions of Christians from Egypt to Eastern Turkey continued to adhere to one-nature theology. They gradually established churches of their own, separate from the ecclesiastical structures of the Empire. Although these churches ultimately came to be known under the names of Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox, each with its own distinctive language of liturgy and theological expression, Jones was right to point out that initially, in the fifth-and-sixth centuries, these were not “national” movements. Several of the foundational figures of the Syrian Orthodox church, such as Severus of Antioch, one of the main actors in my book, spoke and wrote in Greek, rather than in Syriac. Contrary to a narrative popular in earlier scholarship, according to which Severus of Antioch strove to separate from the official, Chalcedonian church of the Empire, Incorruptible Bodies shows that he actually did everything he could to remain within the imperial church, seeking to win it over to his anti-Chalcedonian stance.

The lesson learned from Jones’s article, one which we historians find ourselves relearning time and again, is how not to project contemporary categories back onto the past. Yet, does this mean that no connections exist between the past and the present? Having published my book last year, as I now witness the political events unfolding in Washington, I see deep similarities between the two. I have come to realize how, rather than viewing the past through the prism of the present, we can do the reverse.

While contemporary American political controversies deal with very different concerns than those that plagued the churches of the later Roman Empire, both revolve around disagreements over the proper route to what may be called individual and collective “salvation,” whether that salvation is spiritual, moral or material. The dilemma that now plagues the Democratic Party (and which similarly occupied Republicans during the Obama administration), is structurally equivalent to the key question underlying the disputes among the sixth-century anti-Chalcedonian bishops analyzed in my book: how must one implement one’s vision of salvation when power lays in the hands of those whose views one considers “heretical” and obstacles to salvation? Does one insist on ideological purity, or does one try to change the system from within, either in the name of social unity or in the name of shorter-term gains? The range of answers offered within the Democratic Party mirrors the array of positions defended by the late ancient Miaphysites. But whereas the end of the current political debate is still open, we do know what course of action the Miaphysite movement ultimately decided on. What was this course of action? Readers of Incorruptible Bodies, whether or not they happen to be Democratic policy-makers, can find out for themselves.


Yonatan Moss is a scholar at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he teaches in the Department of Comparative Religion.


APA / Heritage / Month: A Problem in Three Parts

by Sharon Luk, author of the forthcoming The Life of Paper: Letters and a Poetics of Living Beyond Captivity

for Lawson Fusao Inada

1. APA (Asian Pacific American)

“Asian Americans” and “Pacific Islanders” are two different panethnic groups, each with their own history, development, and problems… for the most part, Pacific Islanders have fought to be excluded from the Asian American category.

J. Kehaulani Kauanui

Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji, Jazz — each its own variety, grouped into what we commonly call “apples” for a certain kind of efficacy.

Navel, Valencia, Blood (can Tangerines fit here?) — each its own variety, grouped into what we commonly call “oranges” for perhaps comparable purposes of reference.

If someone invited me to celebrate Apples Oranges Month, I imagine my first response might be, “Do you mean Apples and Oranges?”

In this crude analogy to Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (do you mean Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month?) I don’t assume that the “someone” who invited me to their celebration would hear my question. In many settings, they almost never feel a responsibility to answer or seek clarity.

What exactly is it, then, that we are being asked to celebrate?

2. APA Heritage

…the old poem
birthing itself
into the new
and murderous century.

Li-Young Lee

My heart goes out to the students in my Introduction to Asian American Studies class (and in this present discussion now, I’m excluding Pacific Islanders to honor their distinction). I told them this course could not in any way approach the depth and breadth of all the people who have, at one time or another, been included in the racial category “Asian/- American.” I told them it could not represent any, let alone all, particular ethnicities ortheir experiences. I told them it certainly could not reveal to anyone “who they are.” In this context, then: What is it that we are supposed to be learning?

I ask students to study the processes involved in creating an Asian/-American racial distinction. We examine specific instances in post-1865 U.S. history to question how this distinction has mediated developments in racial capitalism. The construction of nation-states. Empires. War. Survival. More war… I don’t know how to make any of this easy to digest (and now, a corollary issue — can this really be the goal?). The deeper we get into the twentieth century, the more confused students become. Their faces look at me as if to ask, so are Asian Americans good or bad?

Despite the profound constraints on their universe of reference, I think students’ confusions about the contradictions of “Asian American” distinction may still get at the crux of the dilemma the latter heritage presents. That is, what “truths” are to be found in such cycles of suffering?

3. APA Heritage Month

every word of every image is a step towards the end this
urgency dictates that the sentence as we know it no longer
an option grammar is obsolete stories once told in detailed
chapters have been reduced to a noun a verb the father dies the
lover leaves in search of his own ending perhaps now the
writing can finally begin

Truong Tran

What is a month supposed to measure? What story does this measurement tell? In whose words does that story come? What end do those words bring (or, try in vain to defer)?

Let’s assume that Asian American heritage cannot fit into those limits — nor Pacific Islander, nor any people’s heritage, for that matter. Then, the problem of heritage remains beyond what is celebrated in a month and its killing, the problem’s most urgent expressions coming in forms that at once accept their mortality and open out to the living.


Sharon Luk is Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at University of Oregon.

Her forthcoming book The Life of Paper explores the evolution of racism and confinement in California history. Publishing this November, the book offers a wholly original and inspiring analysis of how people facing systematic social dismantling have engaged in letter correspondence to remake themselves.


Q & A with the Editor of Christianity in Late Antiquity

The Official Book Series of the North American Patristics Society

This Q & A is the first post in a blog series related to Christianity in Late Antiquity and published in conjunction with the conference of the North American Patristics Society, which meets May 25-27 in Chicago. Stay tuned for more guest contributions from authors in the series. #NAPS2017


Christianity in Late Antiquity presents outstanding new scholarship on late-ancient Christianity in its various cultural contexts. The series represents the full range of approaches to early Christianity practiced by scholars in North America and internationally, combining the best of theological analysis and institutional history with newer approaches in social history, material culture, liturgical studies, and gender studies. Its geographical and linguistic purview includes the Mediterranean world, North Africa, Northern Europe, Arabia, and the Levant.

As the North American Patristics Society convenes this week in Chicago, we asked editor Christopher Beeley to discuss the series, his own research, and how these titles will contribute to the field of early Christian studies.

What inspired you to develop the Christianity in Late Antiquity series?

Several years ago I noticed that something important was missing. The field of early Christian studies was growing in very creative ways in North America, both numerically and in terms of new perspectives, but there was no standard, general series at an American press that one would immediately think of. So I proposed to the North American Patristics Society—our main academic association—that we recreate the Society’s official book series, which once played a vital role, to reflect the full range of methodological approaches being practiced by North American scholars, and to launch a new initiative with a major American university press. That led to the conversion of the Patristic Monograph Series to the new Christianity in Late Antiquity (CLA) series with the University of California Press. There was much energy among the senior membership of NAPS as well as younger scholars, and we have since seen a great deal of interest in the series.

Can you tell us more about your research interests and areas of expertise?

My favorite thing about the early Christian studies scene in North America is that, while we certainly have our squabbles and debates, people of different and often overlapping methodological approaches work alongside one another in what are usually creative and mutually-beneficial ways. This has not always been the case in other academic associations, regrettably. The interdisciplinarity of NAPS and the conversation we enjoy is an incredible asset, and the new series reflects that. As the series editor I work with authors with very different interests.

I have studied and taught early Christianity for over twenty years, and I am interested in numerous aspects of the period. Thus far I have concentrated on the development of early Christian theology, spirituality, and biblical interpretation, and I pay close attention to the construction of authority by theologians and church councils, the way early Christian writers position themselves rhetorically, and their nearly constant concern for practical matters of individual and social ethics. I have learned a great deal from my colleagues working in similar and different areas, and I am glad to have received their responses to my work as well.

What sets the titles in Christianity in Late Antiquity apart from other books in the field?

What distinguishes CLA from the other outlets is the broad and integrative quality of the work it represents. We don’t simply publish works that represent a wide range of perspectives individually, but we aim to present books that integrate them in new and creative ways. The first two volumes do this in spades.

Yonatan Moss’ Incorruptible Bodies examines the sixth-century debate over the nature of Christ’s human body—in particular, whether is was incorruptible prior to the resurrection or not—but it does so by examining how that question gets played out in the social and political configurations surrounding the major players. There are both old-school historical dividends and new-school theoretical perspectives involved. Moss shows not only that Bishop Severus of Antioch, the great patriarch of the non-Chalcedonian church in Syria, preferred to remain in alliance with the emerging Byzantine empire, despite his opposition to the fractious Council of Chalcedon—a fact that has eluded previous scholars—but Moss also sheds light on how the ecclesial bodies of the rival communities around Severus show different social dynamics in relation to their stance on Christ’s body. It’s fascinating.

Andrew Jacobs’ brilliant new study of the fourth-century bishop and heresy-hunter Epiphanius of Cyprus likewise gives us new details of Epiphanius’ life and works along with a very contemporary new perspective on the phenomenon of his wide influence. By attending to ecclesiastical power structures and making use of modern celebrity studies, Jacobs accounts for Epiphanius’ amazing success at network-building while also giving serious attention to his biblical interpretation and dogmatic theology. The result is a whole new picture of an important early Christian bishop who is typically overlooked as a person in preference for the otherwise lost sources by other authors that he transmits.

Our third volume, Melania, a collection of studies of the influential aristocratic ascetics Melania the Elder and Melania the Younger and their family and friends, opens new doors in the study of late-ancient Christian spirituality and social history. And we have several new books currently in production of equal promise: on early Christian Syriac poetry, fourth-century Greek ascetical theology, early Christian historiography, and Latin inscriptions.

How do you see the series influencing scholarship in your field?

I expect CLA is going to influence the field of early Christian studies—in North America and internationally—by presenting the sort of pioneering integrative scholarship that North American scholars have come to be known for. While we continue to practice the more traditional modes of study, such as historical theology and institutional history, we bring to these subjects new questions and new forms of inquiry that will yield insight in multiple directions. As the largest society among our international peers, the North American Patristics Society and our associates are poised to give new shape to the field of early Christian studies, and to make important contributions in several others fields as well, from late-ancient history to systematic theology to cultural studies.


Christopher Beeley is Professor of Christian theology and history and modern Anglican tradition at Yale Divinity School. He is the author of Leading God’s People: Wisdom from the Early Church for Today, The Unity of Christ: Continuity and Conflict in Patristic Tradition, and Gregory of Nazianzus on the Trinity and the Knowledge of God, which was the winner of a John Templeton Award for Theological Promise. An Episcopal priest, he has served parishes in Connecticut, Indiana, Texas, and Virginia, and he contributes to Berkeley Divinity School’s Anglican formation program.


2017 Kraszna-Krausz Book Award Winners

We’re delighted to announce that multiple UC Press titles have been recognized at this year’s Kraszna-Krausz Foundation Book Awards! Celebrating excellence in photography and moving image publishing, the KKF Awards are the UK’s leading prizes for books published in the fields of photography and the moving image (including film, television and new media).

This year, we’re pleased to share that Anatomy of Sound: Norman Corwin and Media Authorship, edited by Jacob Smith and Neil Verma, has been selected for the Kraszna-Krausz Best Moving Image Book award for 2017.

“At long last, the most important radio auteur of the twentieth century (and a gifted screenwriter to boot) has received the attention he deserves. This book is not only an indispensable guide to Norman Corwin’s work but also a foundational study of the aesthetics and politics of radio and screen.” —James Naremore, author of An Invention without a Future: Essays on Cinema

       
 

Other UC Press finalists include:

These titles, along with the other Moving Image award finalists, will be among the books exhibited at the Somerset House during the Photo London Exhibition this month.

Many congratulations to our authors, and to all other authors recognized at this year’s awards!

See the selection of UC Press titles that were recognized last year.


From the Editor: Meet Me at ICA to Chat about Two New Book Series

By Lyn Uhl, Executive Editor of Communication

It’s been a busy year at the Press for Communication.

Introducing: Communication for Social Justice Activism Series

First off, we’re proud to announce our new series in Communication for Social Justice Activism. This series has been in development for months and now the call for proposals has been announced on CRTNET. Our wonderful co-editors Patricia S. Parker and Lawrence R. Frey are available via email to answer any questions and to help potential authors to shape their proposals. And I will be at the ICA conference later this week to meet with anyone who wants to discuss a book idea for the series.

Upcoming: Identity Complexities, Intersectionality, and Communication Series

Another series, to be edited by Cindy Griffin, is in development. The series title is Identity Complexities, Intersectionality, and Communication. The series encourages scholars to develop and explore intersectional approaches and orientations to understanding the ways we communicate about and within our social, cultural, political, ideological, and lived positions. Grounded in communication, the goals of this series are to stimulate and support scholarship and texts that

  • increase our understanding of the complexities of identities, their interlocking natures, and the ways those interlocking complexities make themselves known
  • develop a more complex and robust vocabulary around these understandings and the roles communication might play in this vocabulary and understanding
  • offer instructors accessible, contemporary, interesting, and provocative material for their classrooms.

Expect a call for proposals soon for this series!

Media Scholars

Are you a media scholar? I will be on a media listening tour during ICA. Please be in touch if you would like to discuss a book idea or if you would be willing to participate in a focus group for a new book series in media and technology.

Meet Me at ICA!

Again, I will be on site at ICA from May 25 -29. I’d would be happy to speak with you about any of the above book series or other book ideas you might have. You can reach me at luhl@ucpress.edu or (617)905-3681. Schedule an appointment in advance or call when you have a free moment.

Looking forward to seeing you at ICA!


Final Day: UC Press Online Sale – Take 40% Off

Sunday May 21st is your final day to save 40% off all titles on www.ucpress.edu. (Sale excludes e-books and journals, and some restrictions apply; please see specifics outlined below).

Stock up for your summer reading needs and take 40% off all titles on ucpress.edu from May 15th-May 21st. This discount offer includes upcoming Fall ’17 new release pre-orders.

Use discount code 17W3169 at checkout and save 40% off.

Note: Discount cannot be applied to e-books, journals, and Sam Francis: Catalog Raisonneé of Canvas and Panel Paintings, 1946-1994. Discount is taken from original list price. Standard shipping rates apply. This offer is not applicable to previous orders, nor can it be combined with any other promotional offers. Online ordering is currently available in the U.S. and Canada only. For customers in the UK and Europe, call John Wiley & Sons +44 (0) 1243 843291. For all other territories, visit:http://www.ucpress.edu/go/ordering.