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Title: Baptismal art and identity construction in the Western Mediterranean in the fifth and sixth centuries
Author: Lenk, Stefanie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7971 6529
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis interrogates material sources from the fifth and sixth centuries to come to a nuanced understanding of what implications the association of Christianity and Romanness had for the conduct of late antique Christians'. I argue that Christian art and material culture shows us that in their lived religious practices, Christians treated Roman cultural techniques and Roman spaces, which high-ranking church representatives considered un-Christian or even pagan, as parts of Christian culture. The thesis demonstrates that very diverse Christian groups, some located on the rural edges of the Western Mediterranean and others in one of its imperial centres, Ravenna, allowed Roman visual culture, and even pre-Christian cult spaces, to shape baptismal art and architecture. Whether these manifestations of Romanness had an impact on Christian beliefs, i.e. their orthodoxy, can be shown by analyzing material culture only with great difficulty. Roman-Christian material culture does provide evidence, however, that late antique Christians privileged keeping Roman traditions alive over contemporary scholarship considers correct Christian conduct. Roman cultural techniques, officially deemed un-Christian, appear in the material record, and suggest that individual communities' understandings of permissible and orthodox ways of performing Christianity were influenced by the cultural landscapes that surrounded them.
Supervisor: Elsner, Jaś ; Rosser, Gervase Sponsor: Leverhulme Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Late antique baptismal art of the Western Mediterranean (5th and 6th centuries)