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Title: The Christian Alexander : the use of Alexander the Great in early Christian literature
Author: Djurslev, Christian Thrue Djurslev
ISNI:       0000 0004 5922 1772
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2015
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The aim of the present study is to examine how the legacy of Alexander was appropriated, altered and used in arguments in early Christian discourse (c. 200-600). There is an inventory of all the early Christian references to Alexander in Appendix 1. The structure of the thesis is conceived as an unequal triptych: it is divided into three parts with subdivisions into three chapters of varying lengths (Part III contains two chapters and the thesis conclusion). Each part is prefaced with a short description of its contents. Each chapter within those parts have a preliminary remark to introduce the principal subject area with a brief conclusion in the back of it. Part I explores the Alexander traditions of three geographical centres of the Christian world: Alexandria (Ch. 1), Jerusalem (Ch. 2) and Rome (Ch. 3). It shows how the Jewish tales from these cities, such as the Josephan tale about Alexander’s visit to Jerusalem, were used in a variety of diverging, often contradictory, ways. Part II turns to the writings of the apologists in the second and third centuries. It discusses three prevalent themes associated with Alexander: historiography (Ch. 4), divine honours (Ch. 5) and Greek philosophy (Ch. 6). Part III moves on to the central texts and Alexander themes in the fourth to sixth centuries. It focuses on his role in Christian chronicles, church histories and representations of their world (Ch. 7), and also the rhetorical use of the figure in Christian preaching and public speaking (Ch. 8). Taken together, these three parts form the overarching argument that Alexander did not only fill many diverse roles in Christian representations of the remote past, but also featured in contemporary discourse on Christian culture, identities and societies, as well as in arguments made on behalf of the Christian religion itself. Indeed, the Christians frequently juxtapose the figure with distinctively Christian features, such as the life of Jesus, the Apostles, the church, sacred cities and holy spaces. They incorporate him into discourses on peace, mercy, generosity and abstinence. In other words, they repeatedly made Alexander relevant for what they considered important and, thus, created their own distinct discourse on the figure.
Supervisor: Ogden, Daniel ; Flower, Richard Sponsor: A.G. Leventis Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Alexander the Great ; Early Christian Literature ; Classics ; Theology