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Dr Rajiv Bohla and Professor Ray Laurence: Utopia and Dystopia in the Praeparatio Evangelica and Roman urbanism

By Departmental Research Seminar

Tuesday 9 Oct (Week 9), 2-3.30pm

Recreation Room (S2.6), Level 3, Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University

The Department of Ancient History in conjunction with the Macquarie University Ancient History Association (MAHA) offers a research seminar series, intended to bring together those within Macquarie and outside who have an interest in the languages, histories, and cultures of the ancient world. View the schedule for the research seminar.

All are welcome! Please arrive on time and join us after the seminar for coffee, tea and biscuits!

Convenor: Dr Alexandra Woods Twitter


Dr Rajiv Bohla | Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Macquarie University

Utopia and Dystopia in the Praeparatio evangelica: Eusebius on Christian Identity and His Rhetoric of Exclusivism.

Memories of Utopia: Destroying the Past to Create the Future | Australian Research Council Discovery Project.

However tumultuous the first three centuries were in the evolution of the early Christian church, the most significant developments took place during the generation of Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea (ca. 260-339 CE). In his lifetime, the imperial attitude towards Christianity shifted from relative indifference to outright aggression, and finally to not simply tolerance, but endorsement under the emperor Constantine (306-337 CE). From the outset of the ‘Great Persecution’ in 303 CE, Eusebius adopted an apologetic approach to his writings that persisted even after hostilities ceased ten years later. His preoccupation with apologetics is understandable, considering that in previous periods of tolerance the threat of renewed persecution was always looming.

The present paper is a ‘state of the question’ on my current work on Eusebius’ Praeparatio evangelica. This text and its companion volume, the Demonstratio evangelica, are together considered to be his apologetic magnum opus, though traditionally they have not attracted much enthusiasm. At first glance, the PE appears to be primarily concerned with tracing the descent of various Mediterranean peoples religiously, ethnically, and intellectually. However, the purpose and framework of the text suggest that Eusebius’ may have had an instructional agenda for recent Gentile converts that went beyond the history lesson the text appears to be.

Ray Laurence | Professor, Macquarie University

Are Port cities a distinct form of Roman urbanism?

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Departmental Research Seminar

The Department of Ancient History in conjunction with the Macquarie University Ancient History Association (MAHA) offers a research seminar series, intended to bring together those within Macquarie and outside who have an interest in the languages, histories, and cultures of the ancient world.