Controlling Contested Places: Late Antique Antioch and the Spatial Politics of Religious Controversy

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9780520280359: Controlling Contested Places: Late Antique Antioch and the Spatial Politics of Religious Controversy

From constructing new buildings to describing rival-controlled areas as morally and physically dangerous, leaders in late antiquity fundamentally shaped their physical environment and thus the events that unfolded within it. Controlling Contested Places maps the city of Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) through the topographically sensitive vocabulary of cultural geography, demonstrating the critical role played by physical and rhetorical spatial contests during the tumultuous fourth century. Paying close attention to the manipulation of physical places, Christine Shepardson exposes some of the powerful forces that structured the development of religious orthodoxy and orthopraxy in the late Roman Empire.

Theological claims and political support were not the only significant factors in determining which Christian communities gained authority around the Empire. Rather, Antioch’s urban and rural places, far from being an inert backdrop against which events transpired, were ever-shifting sites of, and tools for, the negotiation of power, authority, and religious identity. This book traces the ways in which leaders like John Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Libanius encouraged their audiences to modify their daily behaviors and transform their interpretation of the world (and landscape) around them. Shepardson argues that examples from Antioch were echoed around the Mediterranean world, and similar types of physical and rhetorical manipulations continue to shape the politics of identity and perceptions of religious orthodoxy to this day.

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Shepardson provides an exciting study that reintroduces us to the physical space of the city of Antioch. She uncovers a new landscape defined by its physical shape and its cultural meaning while simultaneously revealing how fourth and fifth century Antiochenes understood, interpreted, and argued about their city. Controlling Contested Places then moves us closer to the late antique city actually experienced by those people who lived in it.” Edward Watts is Alkiviadis Vassiliadis Endowed Chair and Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego

Reading Libanius, Chrysostom, and Theodoret through the lenses of cultural geography, spatial analysis, and memory studies, Controlling Contested Places deftly reveals how these and other writers plotted the religious, ecclesiastical, and social tensions of late antique Antioch onto imagined geographies of the city and its hinterland.  Antioch like contemporary Milan, Jerusalem, and Alexandria emerges from Shepardson’s study as an idea and a place continually under construction, a past ever at the mercy of its present.” Dennis Trout, Associate Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Missouri

By addressing the elite control of place, both physical and conceptual, in both countryside and city, Shepardson puts a new spin on the process of Christianization’. Delving into the worlds of social and cultural geography for her insights, here she opens up a rich and compelling landscape to the reader. This is an exciting new addition to the study of Antioch, Late Antiquity and, more broadly, religious controversy.” Wendy Mayer is Research Fellow of Early Christian Studies in the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University
 

About the Author:

Christine Shepardson is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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Book Description University of California Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. From constructing new buildings to describing rival-controlled areas as morally and physically dangerous, leaders in late antiquity fundamentally shaped their physical environment and thus the events that unfolded within it. Controlling Contested Places maps the city of Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) through the topographically sensitive vocabulary of cultural geography, demonstrating the critical role played by physical and rhetorical spatial contests during the tumultuous fourth century. Paying close attention to the manipulation of physical places, Christine Shepardson exposes some of the powerful forces that structured the development of religious orthodoxy and orthopraxy in the late Roman Empire. Theological claims and political support were not the only significant factors in determining which Christian communities gained authority around the Empire. Rather, Antioch s urban and rural places, far from being an inert backdrop against which events transpired, were ever-shifting sites of, and tools for, the negotiation of power, authority, and religious identity. This book traces the ways in which leaders like John Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Libanius encouraged their audiences to modify their daily behaviors and transform their interpretation of the world (and landscape) around them. Shepardson argues that examples from Antioch were echoed around the Mediterranean world, and similar types of physical and rhetorical manipulations continue to shape the politics of identity and perceptions of religious orthodoxy to this day. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780520280359

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