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Epiphanius, Bishop of Constantia on Cyprus from 367 to 403 C.E., was incredibly influential in the last decades of the fourth century. Whereas his major surviving text (the Panarion, an encyclopedia of heresies) is studied for lost sources, Epiphanius himself is often dismissed as an anti-intellectual eccentric, a marginal figure of late antiquity. In this book, Andrew Jacobs moves Epiphanius from the margin back toward the center and proposes we view major cultural themes of late antiquity in a new light altogether. Through an examination of the key cultural concepts of celebrity, conversion, discipline, scripture, and salvation, Jacobs shifts our understanding of "late antiquity" from a transformational period open to new ideas and peoples toward a Christian Empire that posited a troubling, but ever-present, "otherness" at the center of its cultural production.
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.
“In a stunning piece of cultural history, Jacobs shows that Epiphanius was a celebrity in his time, equally at home as a performer and a negotiator. This important and original book opens a new window into late antiquity as it really was.”
Averil Cameron, Professor of Late Antique and Byzantine History at the University of Oxford
“Epiphanius of Cyprus presents a different and wholly surprising picture of the infamous fourth-century bishop. A well-established scholar, Jacobs deftly applies modern critical theory in this creative reading of Epiphanius’s life and works. This book is an excellent contribution and an original work of the highest academic quality.”
Young Richard Kim, Associate Professor of History and Classics at Calvin College
“Andrew Jacobs draws not so much the icon of a saint but the portrait of a multifaceted figure in a shifting landscape. With admirable breadth and mastery of detail, combined with incisive perception and presented in eloquent prose, he paints a vivid picture of the last decades of the fourth century as a time when the boundaries of religion and orthodoxy, of church and empire, and of asceticism and paideia were constantly questioned and renegotiated.”
Claudia Rapp, Professor of Byzantine Studies at the University of Vienna