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Victor Bailey
Hall Center for the Humanities
785-864-7822

Prominant historian of Christianity to speak about wealth and the church

Fri, 03/07/2014

LAWRENCE — Peter Brown, Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor Emeritus of History, Princeton University, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, in the Lied Center Pavilion, located just east of the main entrance. His lecture, "Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD" is an installment of the Hall Center for the Humanities' 2013-2014 Humanities Lecture Series. The event is free and open to the public.

Brown researches the rise of Christianity, and he has investigated such diverse topics as Roman rhetoric, the cult of the saints, the body and sexuality, and wealth and poverty. He is credited with having created the field of study referred to as late antiquity, during which Rome fell, the three major monotheistic religions took shape, and Christianity spread across Europe. 

His most recent book, "Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD," looks at wealth and Christianity in the waning days of the Roman empire. He examines the rise of the church through the lens of money and the challenges it posed to an institution that espoused the virtue of poverty.

He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Mellon Foundation's Distinguished Achievement Award for his scholarly output. He is the author of a dozen books, including "Augustine of Hippo," "The World of Late Antiquity," "The Cult of the Saints," "The Body and Society, "Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity: Towards a Christian Empire," "Authority and the Sacred: Aspects of the Christianization of the Roman World," "The Rise of Western Christendom" and "Poverty and Leadership in the Later Roman Empire."

A native of Ireland, Professor Brown earned his bachelor's in history from Oxford University in 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.

Founded in 1947, the Humanities Lecture Series is the oldest continuing series at KU. More than 150 eminent scholars from around the world have participated in the program, including author Salman Rushdie, poet Gwendolyn Brooks, and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Recent speakers have included Stephen Greenblatt, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Mary Oliver. Shortly after the program’s inception, a lecture by one outstanding KU faculty member was added to the schedule. For information on the series, visit the Hall Center website.



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