Subject of 2018: »Christianizations in Late Antiquity«
When the Mediterranean became Christian, it was one of the most momentous, global-historical developments in the ancient world. It was a complex process because a variety of processes of Christianization took place in different areas of society. For example, completely new norms in sexual ethics arose as control over one’s own vices moved into focus, replacing the obligation to procreate as the center of attention. In other areas, such as philosophy, ancient, non-Christian forms were maintained. Additionally, the development of the empire toward Christianization was not a linear process. Constantine the Great’s conversion to Christianity in 312 AD did not usher in an immediate reformation of the entire empire. Instead, some areas, such as Constantine’s own self-portrayal, became religiously neutral, meaning that religious differences were no longer emphasized.
During this theme year of »Christianizations« we will highlight these complex relationships and bring them into the public eye. There will be public lectures and academic conferences that bring specialists from around the world to Bad Homburg. We will also try out various forms of collaboration with schools. And last but not least, one of our fellows will follow the trail of Christianity in Late Antiquity in Bad Homburg and will offer guided tours to the interested public. In this way, we intend to give research a new footing and to inform the public about the most recent research results.
Academic direction for the theme year will be assumed by Hartmut Leppin, professor of ancient history at Goethe University Frankfurt.