“Treasure in Heaven” and Memory of the Dead in Early Christianity
This lecture will deal with the notion of “treasure in heaven”, especially in relation to the memory of the dead. It will compare the late third century inscriptions at the catacomb of San Sebastiano (and the ceremonies to which they referred) with Christian practices documented and discussed in newly available Manichaean writings of the same period. From Rome to the extreme eastern regions of the Christian world, similar rituals related to the memory of the dead and the protection of their souls in the afterlife provoked similar questioning. It is many of these questions which Saint Augustine will address, a century later, in Africa.
Peter Brown, Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History, Emeritus at Princeton University; Professor Brown 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. Professor 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 currently working on the problems of wealth, poverty, and care of the poor in late antiquity and early medieval periods.
Peter Brown`s numerous published works include:
Poverty and Leadership in the Later Roman Empire, Hanover: University Press of New England, 2002.
The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, 200-1000 A.D, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 1996/2002.
The World of Late Antiquity: AD 150–750, London/ New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1971/1989.
Augustine of Hippo. A Biography, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967/2000.