Rhetoric and realities in the late Roman Empire

Imperial and ecclesiastical discourses of control and religious dissenters in the years 300 to 450” (RHEREA)

MAIJASTINA KAHLOS  (University of Helsinki)

The research project “Rhetoric and realities in the late Roman Empire: Imperial and ecclesiastical discourses of control and religious dissenters in the years 300 to 450” (RHEREA) explores the transformation of late Roman society in the period 300 to 450 CE.

RHEREA focuses on the interdependencies between the rhetoric of power and the changing conditions of religious minorities in the melting-pot of the late Roman Empire. The rhetoric of authority and control include both imperial and ecclesiastical discourses.

The religious dissenters in late antiquity were polytheists, who were called ‘pagans’ by Christian writers, as well as those Christians who were labelled as ‘heretics’ by the mainstream church. In addition to pagans and heretics, there were other minority groups such as Jews, Samaritans and Manichaeans.

The aim of RHEREA is to examine the interaction between the rhetoric and the realities, to survey both the discursive transformation and the religious minorities in the daily life of the period 300 to 450. What is innovative about this project is its combination of research on discourse with social historical research.

 

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