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City of Demons

Violence, Ritual, and Christian Power in Late Antiquity

Dayna S. Kalleres (Author)


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Although it would appear in studies of late antique ecclesiastical authority and power that scholars have covered everything, an important aspect of the urban bishop has long been neglected: his role as demonologist and exorcist. When the emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the realm, bishops and priests everywhere struggled to “Christianize” the urban spaces still dominated by Greco-Roman monuments and festivals. During this period of upheaval, when congregants seemingly attended everything but their own “orthodox” church, many ecclesiastical leaders began simultaneously to promote aggressive and insidious depictions of the demonic. In City of Demons, Dayna S. Kalleres investigates this developing discourse and the church-sponsored rituals that went along with it, showing how shifting ecclesiastical demonologies and evolving practices of exorcism profoundly shaped Christian life in the fourth century.
Introduction. The City in Late Antiquity: Where Have All the Demons Gone?

1. A City of Religious Pluralism and Spiritual Ambiguity
2. The Devil Is in the Ritual
3. The Spectacle of Exorcism

4. Jerusalem to Aelia, Aelia to Jerusalem: Monumental Transformations
5. The Devil in the Word, the Demons in the Image
6. Apocalyptic Prophets and the Cross: Revealing Jerusalem’s Demons from the Crucifixion to the End of Days

7. Ambrose and Nicene Demoniacs: Charismatic Christianity inside and outside Milan

Ancient Language Editions by Series
Translations of Ancient Sources
Selected Bibliography
Dayna S. Kalleres is Assistant Professor of Early Christianity at the University of California, San Diego.
"City of Demons is a profoundly learned work that aims to address the widely studied issue of urban ecclesiastical leadership with a fresh approach; the critical apparatus and the number and consistency of references are impressive."—Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft
“In City of Demons Dayna Kalleres jolts readers out of their secular modern world to experience the richly enchanted and animated cities of late antiquity. Through case studies of John Chrysostom in Antioch, Cyril in Jerusalem, and Ambrose in Milan, Kalleres repopulates the late antique landscape with its demons and highlights the significance of the rituals and rhetoric of spiritual warfare in post-Constantinian Christianity. This engaging and methodologically sophisticated cultural history of urban demonologies challenges scholars to take account of the ways in which perceptions of human/demon interactions shaped the late Roman world.”—Christine Shepardson, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Tennessee and author of Controlling Contested Places: Late Antique Antioch and the Spatial Politics of Religious Controversy

“Dayna Kalleres has written a creative and original book that is sure to make a tremendous impact. In lucid and engaging prose, she asks readers to reimagine the post-classical city as an animated space, alive with unseen forces. To take this urbanscape of late antiquity seriously is to engage in entirely new ways with our ancient Christian sources and to revise our understanding of religious community, identity, and conflict.”—Andrew Jacobs, Mary W. and J. Stanley Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies at Scripps College

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