Toleration Conference 2021 Banner Image

Susanna Elm


Panel: Politics, Political Theory and Toleration – Friday, January 22 (9am – 11am PST // 12pm – 2pm EST)
Susanna Elm photo

Susanna Elm is a scholar of the late Roman Empire who has written at length about early Christianity and its relation to the cultures of the Mediterranean in this period. Her most recent book, Sons of Hellenism, Fathers of the Church, explores the common sources of the intellectual development of the Roman emperor Julian and his Christian critic Gregory of Naziansus. She challenges a Christian historical tradition that depicted Julian as an “Apostate” without original ideas of his own. Elm instead demonstrates that Julian’s theology represented one product of a Greek education in philosophy that posed similar questions and frameworks that shaped Gregory’s own intellectual trjectory. She thus shows how these two theological opponents shared common assumptions that testify to the vibrance of Hellenism as a cultural force that could bind Christians and non-Christians. She has written on many other thinkers and figures central to the history of Christianity in the late Roman Empire, most recently focusing on St. Augustine, about whom she is preparing a book.

Example of published work:

Susanna Elm, Sons of Hellenism, Fathers of the Church: Emperor Julian, Gregory of Nazianzus, and the Vision of Rome (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2015);