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Matthew R. Crawford

“The Bishop versus the Emperor: Social Imagination and Intellectual Formation in Late Antique Alexandria”

Matthew R. Crawford

Australian Catholic University, Byzantine Studies Fellow, Fall

In the early fifth century, only a few years after the death of the famous philosopher Hypatia, Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, composed a massive apologetic treatise titled Contra Julianum. To rebut the attack on Christianity launched half a century prior by Julian in his Contra Galileos, Cyril engaged with a wide range of non-Christian sources, including, for example, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Plotinus, and Porphyry, as well as Christian authors like Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius. Crawford’s current research project is to provide the first translation of Contra Julianum into English and to write a monograph using the treatise as a window to shed light on the intellectual and social interaction among Christians and pagans at the time.

Matthew R. Crawford is an associate professor in the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry (IRCI) at Australian Catholic University. He holds a PhD in historical theology and the history of Christianity from Durham University. Following the completion of his doctorate, he held a postdoctoral appointment at Durham funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council and, in 2015, moved to the newly founded IRCI in Melbourne. His most recent monograph is The Eusebian Canon Tables: Ordering Textual Knowledge in Late Antiquity (Oxford University Press, 2019). Crawford directs the research program in biblical and early Christian studies within the IRCI and is the recipient of a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award from the Australian Research Council.