Lecture: Brad Boswell, "Emperor Julian, Cyril of Alexandria, and the Narrative Conflict of Traditions"

Nov 4, 2022, 12:00 pm1:30 pm
Scheide Caldwell House, room 103



Event Description

When the Roman Emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus—better known to many as Julian the Apostate—perished on a Persian battlefield in 363 CE, his efforts to turn back the tide of Christianizing efforts within the Roman Empire died with him. In the final decades of the fourth century, subsequent Christian emperors only further solidified the political and social status of Christianity. Julian’s intellectual challenges, however, lingered. In the 420s, Cyril, the new bishop of Alexandria, sensed a need to compose a colossal response to one of Julian’s final compositions, the anti-Christian Against the Galileans. Julian's treatise and Cyril's response, titled Against Julian, provide the first opportunity in late antiquity to analyze explicit, substantive, two-way disagreement between a representative Christian and Hellene (as Julian would call himself). This talk introduces Julian's and Cyril's texts and the argument, drawn from Alasdair MacIntyre's work on intellectual conflict between traditions of life and thought, that Julian and Cyril were engaged in narrative conflict.

Cosponsored by the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies