Lectures/Oct 31, 2018

The Natural World: Pagans and Christians – Cosmos and Landscape

The Natural World: Pagans and Christians – Cosmos and Landscape lead image

The Natural World: Pagans and Christians – Cosmos and Landscape, Thomas Spencer Jerome Lectures Series, lecture by Robin Lane Fox (University of Oxford), American Academy in Rome, November 6, 2018, 6:00 pm

The Thomas Spencer Jerome Lectures Series is among the most prestigious international platforms for the presentation of new work on Roman history and culture. They are presented at both the American Academy in Rome and the University of Michigan. In 2018, the forty-fifth year of the lecture series, Robin Lane Fox, a noted scholar of ancient history, will discuss the natural world in pagan and Christian Rome.

The lectures will explore the differing approaches to the natural world by pagans and the early Christians, from Paul and the Gospels to circa 500 CE. They will bring out differing emphases in their respective writings and art and will ask what practical effects such different ways of seeing had on contemporary life.

The first lecture, “Cosmos and Landscape,” will delve into pagan and Christian views of creation. It will also investigate the dominance of humankind over the beasts and the vegetal world, as well as modern theories of a shift from a horizontal view to a vertical perspective of the relation between the natural world and the divine, which Christianity endorsed.

Additional lectures will take place on November 8 and November 12, 2018.

Robin Lane Fox is an ancient historian and gardening writer best known for his works on Alexander the Great. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and a reader in ancient history at the University of Oxford. A fellow and tutor in ancient history at New College from 1977 to 2014, Fox now serves as garden master and as extraordinary lecturer in ancient history for both New and Exeter Colleges. His major publications, for which he has won literary prizes, include studies of Alexander the Great and ancient Macedon, Christianity and Paganism, and the Greek Dark Ages. His most recent book, published in 2015, concerns the patristic author Augustine of Hippo. Lane Fox is also the gardening correspondent of the Financial Times.