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Title:A community of preachers: The north Italian episcopacy, 397-451
Author(s):Brinks, Michael J.
Director of Research:Mathisen, Ralph W.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Mathisen, Ralph W.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Shanzer, Danuta R.; McLaughlin, Megan L.; Layton, Richard A.
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):late antique Christianity
Ambrose of Milan
Chromatius of Aquileia
Gaudentius of Brescia
Maximus of Turin
Peter Chrysologus
Abstract:This dissertation is a study of Christianity in northern Italy from the end of the fourth century to the middle of the fifth. It builds upon two important trends in recent scholarship on Late Antiquity. The first is the emphasis on the fragmentation of the Roman world along regional lines as the authority of the Roman emperors was weakened, particularly in the west. The second is the emergence of the bishop as the key cultural and political figure in the cities of the later empire. The fact that the western Roman emperors spent most of their time in northern Italy in the period covered by this study means that the churches of northern Italy temporarily enjoyed greater prominence within the broader Christian world than it probably would have otherwise. During the early part of this period, Milan and Ravenna were important ecclesiastical centers that could briefly rival Rome for prestige and influence within the church as a whole. Ambrose of Milan is the best-known Italian bishop of this period, but this study focuses mainly on the contributions of figures who are less famous. Chromatius of Aquileia, Vigilius of Trent, Gaudentius of Brescia, Maximus of Turin, and Peter Chrysologus of Ravenna were all bishops. Rufinus of Aquileia was an ascetic scholar who lived much of his life in Italy. All but Peter and Rufinus knew Ambrose personally, and all of them were influenced by the bishop of Milan to such a degree that it is possible to speak of north Italian Christianity’s “Ambrosian” outlook. This distinct perspective was expressed in writings of a variety of genres, but most of all in these bishops’ sermons. It is most apparent in the way that they thought about issues of authority—both episcopal as well as imperial—as well in their approach to the purely theological questions that were being dealt with throughout the Christian world during their lifetimes.
Issue Date:2018-04-19
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Michael J. Brinks All Rights Reserved
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-04
Date Deposited:2018-05

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