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Faculty of Divinity










Lent Term 2021


The Religions of Late Antiquity Seminar (formerly the Patristics Seminar) meets on Mondays in even weeks of term from 2-3.30pm (NB apart from 1st March when it will meet 3.30-5pm). The seminar gathers graduate students, scholars and visiting scholars in the University interested in religions of late antiquity (Christianity, Judaism, cults of the Greco-Roman and near eastern worlds) and their interactions. It 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). In Lent 2021 it is chaired by Dr Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe ( and Dr Mark Smith (


In Lent 2021 the first two sessions of the seminar will meet as a reading group to discuss early Christian responses to disease (pandemic, epidemic, endemic and other) in late antiquity. All texts will be made available in translation to enable those with some or no ancient languages to participate. In the second two sessions of term there will be external speakers who will pre-circulate material for discussion. All colleagues, MPhil and PhD students in RoLA or other areas (such as Classics, History and Philosophy), from within and outside the faculty, are warmly welcome. The seminar will be conducted online: please email Dr Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe for copies of reading materials and a link to the zoom meeting.



1. Monday 1st February 2021, 2-3.30pm

Reading group - disease and asceticism: the Syriac Life of Simeon Stylites, focussing on Simeon’s healing miracles (Lent pp. 136- 145 / Bedjan pp. 547- 61), Simeon’s own bodily sufferings (Lent pp. 153-7; Bedjan pp. 573-80), and the sufferings of evil-doers (Lent pp. 158 -9 /Bedjan pp. 581-3).


2. Monday 15th February 2021, 2-3.30pm

Reading group - disease in a sick world: extracts from Cyprian, To Demetrianus, and from the Chronicle of Pseudo-Joshua the Stylite


3. Monday 1st March 2021, 3.30-5pm (NB note different time)

Seminar with pre-circulated chapter: Prof. Catherine Michael Chin, University of California at Davis, ‘Storytelling: performance writing and research-creation in early Christian studies’


4. Monday 15th March 2021, 2-3.30pm

Seminar with pre-circulated texts: Dr Anna Lefteratou, ‘The maieutics of salvation : Pilate's conversion in Nonnus' Paraphrasis Books 18-19’