The Byzantine Studies Program at Dumbarton Oaks announces a public lecture to be
presented by Peter Brown, Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History at Princeton University: “Theology and Social Criticism: Salvian of Marseilles and the end of the Roman Empire in the West” to take place on Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 5:30 PM in the Music Room of Dumbarton Oaks, 1703 32nd Street NW. The lecture is open to the public without charge. Reception to follow. Reservations are required. To RSVP and for additional information, please email Byzantine@doaks.org or phone (202) 339-6940.
This lecture examines the intellectual and religious background to a writer whose one work -- On the Governance of God (written around AD 440) -- has always been regarded as an irreplaceable source for the social ills of the Roman Empire in its last days. Salvian has usually been treated only as a “source” for his own times. The lecture will attempt to recover his profile as an individual author. This will enable us to measure the manner in which his perceptions of his own times were guided by profound and idiosyncratic theological and religious convictions. Having shown this, the lecture will conclude how this re-consideration of Salvian as an author may alter our view of the actual state of the Roman empire in the West in the 430s and 440s, and of the role of Christianity in Roman society in this period of transition.
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