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INTRODUCTION Marianne Sághy and Edward M. Schoolman Revisiting ‘pagans’ and ‘Christians’ in Late Antiquity has been a fertile site of scholarship in recent years. A rich crop of new studies on religious identity, conflict and coexistence demonstrates how difficult it is to grasp individual or group identities and model the religious transformation of the Late Roman Empire—the dominant master narrative of European historiography.1 The paradigm shift in the interpretation of the relations between ‘pagans’ and ‘Christians’ replaced the old ‘conflict model’ with a subtler , complex approach and triggered the upsurge of new explanatory models such as multiculturalism, cohabitation, cooperation, identity, or group cohesion. This collection of essays, originating from an international conference organized by Marianne Sághy at CEU Budapest in cooperation with the University of 1  Anders Klostergaard Petersen- George van Kooten (edd.), Religio-philosophical discourses in the Mediterranean world: from Plato through Jesus to Late Antiquity, (Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2017); H. C. Teitler, The last pagan emperor: Julian the Apostate and the war against Christianity, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017); Stéphane​ Ratti, L’Histoire Auguste: Les païens et les chrétiens dans l’Antiquité tardive, (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2016); Éric Rebillard, Jörg Rüpke (ed.), Group Identity and Religious Individuality in Late Antiquity, (Washington , D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2015); Christopher P. Jones, Between Pagan and Christian, (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 2014); Birgitte Secher Bøgh (ed.), Conversion and Initiation in Antiquity: Shifting Identities – Creating Change, (Frankfurt am Main; New York: Peter Lang, 2014); Rita Lizzi Testa (ed.), The Strange Death of Pagan Rome: Reflections on a Historiographical Controversy.Giornale Italiano di Filologia: Bibliotheca, 16. (Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2013); Stéphane Ratti, Polémiques entre païens et chr étiens, (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2012); Éric Rebillard. Christians and their many identities in late antiquity, North Africa, 200–450 CE, (Ithaca; London: Cornell University Press, 2012); Peter Brown - Rita Lizzi Testa (edd.), Pagans and Christians in the Roman Empire: The Breaking of a Dialogue (IVth–VIth Century A.D.), (Zürich-Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2011); Alan Cameron. The Last Pagans of Rome. (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2011); Stéphane Ratti. Antiquus error. Les ultimes feux de la résistance païenne. Scripta varia augment és de cinq études inédites, (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010); Stephen Mitchell - Peter Van Nuffelen (ed.), Monotheism between Pagans and Christians in Late Antiquity, (Leuven: Peeters, 2010); Maijastina Kahlos, Debate and Dialogue: Christian and Pagan Cultures, c. 360–430, (Farnham: Ashgate, 2007). i6 p&c 00 book.indb 1 2017.09.20. 16:22 MARIANNE SÁGHY AND EDWARD M. SCHOOLMAN 2­ Pécs on 7-10 March 2013, inscribes itself into the revisionist discussion of paganChristian relations. The Budapest-Pécs conference was a follow-up of a very successful and truly delightful 2012 colloquy in the Hungarian Academy in Rome commemorating the Edict of Milan that focused on Constantine and the ways his political vision impacted the fourth-century Vrbs.2 To move the analysis forward, we extended the geographical and chronological scope of investigation to the territory of the Roman Empire from the fourth to the eighth century. The conference had a rich program with two keynote lectures, thirty speakers, nine student posters, a field trip to the Late Antique cemetery in Pécs, and a record attendance. Keynote speakers Hartwin Brandt and Alan Cameron inspired,3 the presence of iconic figures of the discipline, Wolf Liebeschuetz, Raffaella Cribiore and Giorgio Bonamente stimulated the conference.4 The Pécs section took place in the Late Roman burial chambers, where participants felt like asking for a spade to do some more excavating! We celebrated Alan Cameron’s 75th anniversary with good cheer and an erudite Neo-Latin poem composed by Zoltán Rihmer for the occasion. The main question our speakers addressed concerned the validity of the concepts ‘pagan’ and ‘Christian.’ Do the terms ‘pagan’ and ‘Christian,’ ‘transition from paganism to Christianity’ still hold as explanatory devices to apply to the political, religious and cultural transformation experienced Empire-wise? In this set of papers, Constantine ’s conversion recedes in the background to give place to power networks, social interaction, practices of worship, literary and philosophical models. While ‘paganism ’ had never been fully extirpated or denied by the multiethnic educated elite that managed the Roman Empire, ‘Christianity’ came to be presented by the same élite as providing a way for a wider group of people to combine true philosophy and right religion. The...


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