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Chapter 7 - Julian the Emperor on Statues (of Himself)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 September 2020

Catherine Conybeare
Affiliation:
Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania
Simon Goldhill
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

This chapter looks at the ways in which Hellenisms are constructed, specifically with reference to the language of religion and divinity. It poses the question: how Christian is the determinedly nostalgic late-ancient Hellenism of the emperor known as Julian the Apostate (ruled 361-363)? If the emperor continued to be considered as a god, how did that inflect the understanding of Christ’s incarnation—and vice versa? The very language of the divine becomes fraught with ambiguity, and the distinctions imposed by interpreters between philology and theology seem increasingly tendentious. Ultimately it shows show how the dynamic interaction of theology and classical antiquity can produce an almost unthinkable collocation of ideas: that an ensouled statue of the emperor should provide some sort of model for comprehending the incarnation of Christ.

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Chapter
Information
Classical Philology and Theology
Entanglement, Disavowal, and the Godlike Scholar
, pp. 126 - 148
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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