January 22, 2009

Vol. 24 , No. 05   


View Entire Issue (Vol. 24 , No. 05)


Wealth, Work and the Holy Poor: Early Christian Monasticism between Syria and Egypt
PETER BROWN
TUESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2009

On December 3, 2008, Princeton Professor Peter Brown won the Kluge prize, known as “America’s Nobel.” A scholar reviewing the nominations praised him as “among the greatest historians of the past three centuries.”

Peter Brown, the Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History, is credited with having created the field of study referred to as late antiquity (250-800 A.D.), the period during which Rome fell, the three major monotheistic religions took shape, and Christianity spread across Europe. A native of Ireland, Professor Brown earned his B.A. in history from Oxford University (1956), where he taught until 1975 as a Fellow of All Souls College. He joined the Princeton faculty in 1986 after teaching at the University of London and the University of California, Berkeley.

Brown’s primary interests are the transition from antiquity to the Middle Ages and the rise of Christianity, and he has pursued them through investigations into such diverse topics as Roman rhetoric, the cult of the saints, the body and sexuality, and wealth and poverty. He is the author of a dozen books, including Augustine of Hippo (1967, 2000), The World of Late Antiquity (1971), The Cult of the Saints (1982), The Body and Society (1988), Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity: Towards a Christian Empire (1992), Authority and the Sacred: Aspects of the Christianization of the Roman World (1995), The Rise of Western Christendom (1996, 2003), and Poverty and Leadership in the Later Roman Empire (2002). He has been the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (1982), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1989), and the Mellon Foundation’s Distinguished Achievement Award (2001).

Professor Brown’s visit to campus is hosted by professor of history Shane Bjornlie and the Athenaeum.