Co-edited by Kenneth Mills and Anthony Grafton.
This volume explores religious conversion in late antique and early medieval Europe at a time when the utility of the concept is vigorously debated. Though conversion was commonly represented by ancient and early medieval writers as singular and personally momentous mental events, contributors to this volume find gradual and incomplete social processes lurking behind their words. A mixture of examples and approaches will both encourage a deepening of specialist knowledge and spark new thinking across a variety of sub-fields.
The historical settings treated here stretch from the Roman Hellenism of Justin Martyr in the second century to the ninth-century programs of religious and moral correction by resourceful Carolingian reformers. Baptismal orations, funerary inscriptions, Christian narratives about the conversion of stage-performers, a bronze statue of Constantine, early Byzantine ethnographic writings, and re-located relics are among the book's imaginative points of entry. This focused collection of essays by leading scholars, and the afterword by Neil McLynn, should ignite conversations among students of religious conversion and related processes of cultural interaction, diffusion, and change both in the historical sub-fields of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages and well beyond.
This book is one of two collections of essays on religious conversion drawn from the activities of the Shelby Cullum Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University between 1999 and 2001. The other volume, Conversion: Old Worlds and New, is also published by the University of Rochester Press.
Contributors: Susan Elm, Anthony Grafton, Richard Lim, Rebecca Lyman, Michael Maas, Neil McLynn, Kenneth Mills, Eric Rebillard, Julia M. H. Smith, Raymond Van Dam.