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The Social World of Intellectuals in the Roman Empire
Sophists, Philosophers, and Christians


Part of Greek Culture in the Roman World

  • Date Published: November 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107624412

£ 26.99

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About the Authors
  • This book examines the role of social networks in the formation of identity among sophists, philosophers and Christians in the early Roman Empire. Membership in each category was established and evaluated socially as well as discursively. From clashes over admission to classrooms and communion to construction of the group's history, integration into the social fabric of the community served as both an index of identity and a medium through which contests over status and authority were conducted. The juxtaposition of patterns of belonging in Second Sophistic and early Christian circles reveals a shared repertoire of technologies of self-definition, authorization and institutionalization and shows how each group manipulated and adapted those strategies to its own needs. This approach provides a more rounded view of the Second Sophistic and places the early Christian formation of 'orthodoxy' in a fresh context.

    • Offers a fresh view on the formation of early Christian 'orthodoxy'
    • Contributes to a growing body of work on social networks and the politics of group identity in antiquity
    • Provides a more rounded view of the Second Sophistic
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is an engaging book, written in a clear and often perky style, with some but not too much sociological jargon. Eshleman has read very widely, quotes her ancient texts in the original and translates them, and gives the reader much food for thought.' Sehepunkte

    'This is much more than a 'first' book, however highly one may rank it; it is a book which masterly reveals the 'common set of culturally available strategies of self-definition' in use by both pagan pepaideumenoi and Christian intellectuals of the Imperial age.' Dimitris Karambelas, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107624412
    • length: 303 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.41kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Inclusion and identity
    2. Contesting competence: the ideal of self-determination
    3. Expertise and authority in the early church
    4. Defining the circle of sophists: Philostratus and the construction of the Second Sophistic
    5. Becoming orthodox: heresiology as self-fashioning
    6. Successions and self-definition
    7. 'From such mothers and fathers': succession narratives in early Christian discourse.

  • Author

    Kendra Eshleman, Boston College, Massachusetts
    Kendra Eshleman is an Assistant Professor of Classical Studies at Boston College.

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