Sunday, June 29, 2008

Private Worship, Public Values, and Religious Change in Late Antiquity


"Conventional histories of late antique Christianity tell the story of a public institution - the Christian church. In this book, Kim Bowes relates another history, that of the Christian private. Using textual and archaeological evidence, she examines the Christian rituals of home and rural estate, which took place outside the supervision of bishops and their agents. These domestic rituals and the spaces in which they were performed were rooted in age-old religious habits. They formed a major, heretofore unrecognized force in late ancient Christian practice. The religion of home and family, however, was not easily reconciled with that of the bishop's church. Domestic Christian practices presented challenges to episcopal authority and posed thorny questions about the relationship between individuals and the Christian collective. As Bowes suggests, the story of private Christianity reveals a watershed in changing conceptions of "public" and "private," one whose repercussions echo through contemporary political and religious debate."

"Dr. Kim Bowes joined the Art History faculty at Fordham in January of 2004 after a doctorate at Princeton University and a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University. Her research focuses on the art, archaeology and history of late antiquity and early Christianity. Her particular interests are Christian practice in the home, domestic architecture and landscape archaeology. She has articles in the Journal of Roman Archaeology, Art History and the Journal of Early Christian Studies, and is the co-editor of two books, Between Text and Territory: Survey and Excavation in the Terra of San Vicenzo al Volturno (forthcoming); and Hispania in the Late Antique World: New Perspectives (Brill, 2005). Kim is also a practicing field archaeologist, and has excavated sites ranging from Israel to Portugal, most recently a Roman amphitheater in Albania. Kim spent the last year as a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome where she completed a monograph entitled, Possessing the Holy: Private Worship in Late Antiquity." - faculty profile, Fordham University.

- This book is scheduled for release August 31, 2008.
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