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Grant number: FA-232931-16

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FA-232931-16

Nicola Denzey Lewis
Brown University (Providence, RI 02912-9100)

Against the Cult of the Saints: The Early Modern Invention of Late Antique Rome

A book-length history of the development of saint worship in early Christian Rome.

This grant application is to complete a book which challenges the common understanding of late antique Christianity as dominated by the Cult of the Saints. Popularized by historian Peter Brown, the Cult of the Saints presupposes that a "corporeal turn" in the 4th century CE initiated a new sense of the body (even the corpse or the bone) as holy. Against the Cult of the Saints: The Early Modern Invention of Late Antique Rome argues that although present elsewhere in the late Roman Empire, no such “corporeal turn” happened in Rome until the early modern period. The prevailing assumption that it did – fostered by the apologetic concerns of early modern Catholic scholars – has led us to gloss over important evidence to the contrary. This book delves deeper into the world of Roman late antique Christianity to explore how it differed from the set of practices and beliefs we have come to think flourished in this crucial age of Christianization.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Cultural History; European History; Religion, Other

Program:
Fellowships for University Teachers

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$42,000 (approved)
$42,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 6/30/2017