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Patristic Seminar overview

Patristic Seminar

The Senior Patristics Seminar meets on selected Mondays in the Lightfoot Room in the Divinity Faculty at 4pm. The seminar is the main gathering for graduate students, scholars and visiting scholars in the University interested in the field of ancient Christianity, and shares a common interest with the Cambridge Late Antiquity Network Seminars (CLANS), which engage with the late antique and early medieval periods from a range of disciplines and interdisciplinary perspectives (including Classics, History, Theology and Religious Studies). It is chaired by Dr Thomas Graumann and Dr Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe.

 In Michaelmas 2017 the seminar will take the form of a reading group. Sessions will be held at 4pm in the Lightfoot Room in the Divinity Faculty on October 16th, October 30th, and November 13th. For each session we will read two extracts from Patristic commentaries and treatises on the psalms, focusing on Psalm 1 as the ‘gateway’ and hermeneutic key to the Psalter, and also as a text with some intriguing ambiguities of its own. All who have interests in Patristic commentary, biblical exegesis, the history of reading and reception of Psalms and so on, are welcome to attend these sessions. We will be reading the texts in translation, but the Greek and Latin texts can also be consulted. Scanned copies of the translations and original texts to be discussed can be obtained on request from Dr Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe.

 In Lent and Easter 2018 the seminar will host papers from both invited visitors and Cambridge scholars on topics in the area of Patristic Studies broadly defined, including all aspects of the social, cultural and intellectual history of Christianity in antiquity: expressions of its life and practice as well as the exegetical, theological and philosophical discussions and literary production of the time.

 Michaelmas 2017 - reading group on Patristic commentaries and treatises on Psalm 1


October 16: Origen and Jerome


Origen, fragment from preface to Commentary on Psalms 1-25, trans. Joseph Trigg, Origen (1998), 69-72; ed. Marguerite Harl and Nicholas de Lange, SC 302 (Paris, 1983), 240-9

 Jerome, Homily on Psalm 1, trans. Marie Liguori Ewald, FC 48 (Washington, 1963), 3-14; ed. Germain Morin, CCL 78 (Turnhout, 1958), 2-12

October 30: Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa


Basil of Caesarea, Homily on Psalm 1, trans. Agnes Clare Way, FC 46 (Washington, 1963), 151-64; ed. J.-P. Migne, PG 29, 209-228

Gregory of Nyssa, On the Inscriptions of the Psalms 1.1-5, trans. Ronald Heine, Gregory of Nyssa’s Treatise on the Inscriptions of the Psalms (Oxford, 1995), 83-98; ed. J. McDonough, GNO 5, 24-40


November 13: Augustine and Cassiodorus


Augustine, Exposition of Psalm 1, trans. Maria Boulding, Expositions of the Psalms vol. 1, Psalms 1-32 (New York, 2000), 67-70; ed. Eligius Dekkers and John Fraipont, CCSL 38 (Turnhout, 1956), 1-3

Cassiodorus, Commentary on Psalm 1, trans. P.G. Walsh, ACW 51 (New York, 1990), 45-57; ed. Mark Adriaen, CCSL 97 (Turnhout, 1958), 27-39


Lent 2018


January 29: ‘Augustine the poet’ ~ Dr Cally Hammond (Gonville and Caius, Cambridge)


February 12: ‘Creation: a catalyst shaping early Christian life and thought' ~ Professor Frances Young (Birmingham University)


February 26: ‘Augustine and the experience of pain’ ~ Professor Gillian Clark, Bristol University)


March 12: ‘The creation of an ecumenical council: Ephesus I (431) and its aftermath’ ~ Dr Mark Smith (Christ’s, Cambridge)



Easter  2018

May 7: ‘Marius Victorinus’ “theological treatises” as philosophical commentary’ ~ Professor Josef Lössl (Cardiff University)


May 21: ‘How to praise a Christian emperor: the panegyrical experiments of Eusebius of Caesarea’ ~ Dr James Corke-Webster (King’s College London)


June 4: Maleficus Christianus: magic and anti-magic in Jerome’s Life of Hilarion’ ~ Dr Christa Gray (Reading University)