Spring 2023

Religion and Violence in the Roman Empire

Listed in: History, as HIST-274  |  Religion, as RELI-277


Rebecca Stephens Falcasantos (Section 01)


(Offered as RELI 277 and HIST 274 [TC/TE/P] ) Literature from the later Roman empire abounds with accounts of heightened acts of violence between religious groups: Roman judges torture religious deviants; monks massacre banqueters and destroy temples with their bare hands; Christians clash with each other on darkened city streets; Christians attack Jewish synagogues and festival-goers. What about the late Roman world encouraged such violence? Were some religious groups more or less tolerant than their counterparts? Were incidents of violence primarily rhetorical, or do they reflect the real volatility of social interactions? How might the literary representation of violence be an act of violence itself or encourage physical violence? This course investigates the intersection of violence and religion from the third through the seventh century C.E., paying particular attention to questions of definition, legitimacy, and the interpretation of violent acts. As we explore these questions, we will engage with ongoing theoretical discussions about identity, violence, social performance, and boundary construction. Over the course of the semester, students will compile research portfolios that examine and analyze incidents of inter-religious violence.

Spring semester.  Assistant Professor Falcasantos.

How to handle overenrollment: null

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Emphasis on research and writing.

HIST 274 - LEC

Section 01
M 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM BARR 105
W 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM BARR 105

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Holy Terrors: Thinking about Religion after September 11 University of Chicago Press; 2nd ed. (2006) Lincoln, Bruce Required Amherst Books TBD
A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations University of Chicago Press; Ninth ed. (2018) Turabian, Kate Required Amherst Books TBD
Martyrdom and Memory: Early Christian Culture Making Columbia University Press (2007) Castelli, Elizabeth Recommended Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2023