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Recent Publication by Sebastien Morlet

13 April 2016

Sebastien Morlet

Former Visiting Fellow Dr Sébastien Morlet recently published a new book, Les Chrétiens et la culture: Conversion d'un concept (Ier-VIe siècle).

The book describes the main lines of ancient Christian views on "culture". The first chapter gives a survey of the general attitudes towards the Greek "paideia" (pro and contra). The next chapters deal with ancient Christian approaches to the main liberal arts (grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, arithmetic and geometry, music, astronomy). The final chapter shows that, beyond this interrogation on Greek culture, Christian literature of Antiquity witnesses a major transformation of the notion of culture itself. Christians, such as Clement of Alexandria (2nd century) or Origen (3rd century), defend a notion of culture which is, in itself, disconnected from Hellenism, though still strongly linked to Greek wisdom, and which is, beyond the liberal arts of Greek paideia, opened to anything which can, in their view, contribute to man's humanity. In this new conception of culture, the biblical text has a major role to play. The thesis of the book is that Christians of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, in that respect, initiated a transformation of the notion of culture which opened the way to medieval and Renaissance humanisms.

For further information, please see here.

Dr Morlet has recently prepared a MOOC (online course) which will open in May 2016. Taught in French and consisting of six sessions, Christianity and Philosophy in Antiquity (Christianisme et philosophie dans l'Antiquité) will introduce participants to the relationships between Philosophy and Christianity in Antiquity: confrontations and influences. A special resource is dedicated to papyri preserved at the Institut de papyrologie of the Sorbonne.

For further information, please see here.

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