From March 2017, The Migration of Faith sponsors a book club in Sheffield, exploring early Christianity, the world of the Church fathers, mobility and exile. We’ll be reading modern novels with a unique and inspiring take on these themes that will throw an alternative light on our research. The novels show that the issues at the heart of our research – the intense theological debates that underpinned early Christianity and often led to clerical exile, as well as the personal and cultural encounters they generated around the ancient Mediterranean – still have the power to move us today.
On deck are:
Emmanuel Carrère, The Kingdom
Topping the French bestseller lists in 2014 and freshly translated into English this year, this novel follows the apostle Paul and the evangelist Luke in their quest to spread Jesus’ teaching and a unique idea of social order around the Mediterranean.
We will meet on 23 March, 5-7pm in the Bath Hotel, Sheffield.
Evelyn Waugh, Helena
By popular vote, our second novel will be Evelyn Waugh’s Helena, his only historical novel. Helena, mother of Constantine, was an avid traveller: most famous of course for her trip to Palestine which, according to some, set in motion Holy Land tourism. She also toured the Eastern provinces meeting some of the bishops investigated by The Migration of Faith project (one was allegedly banished for insulting her). Waugh traces all this and much more with humanity and humour, presenting Helena as intensely interested in the History of Christianity and its mythical spaces.
We will meet on 10 May, 5-7pm, venue tbc. Please email Dominik Kocbuch at DFKocbuch1@sheffield.ac.uk for more info.
Frank Spinella, Heresy. A Novel
Investigates how something that started as an intellectual debate of the early fourth century became a ‘heresy’ and how the networks between clerics contributed to the condemnation of the priest Arius’ teaching at the Council of Nicaea in 325, leading to his and many other late antique clerics’ exile around the Mediterranean.
Youssef Ziedan, Azazeel
Awarded the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2010 (among some controversy) and set in the world of the Eastern Mediterranean, this novel describes the journeys of a fifth-century monk: an external journey that takes him from Southern Egypt to Eastern Syria, and an internal one exploring his humanity, triggered by an encounter with Nestorius of Constantinople, soon to be exiled for his views.
The book club is open to anyone who is interested and will take place in an informal setting in a local Sheffield pub. Our next meeting is on 10 May.
The book club will be accompanied by the screening of a number of iconic films narrating stories of ancient mobility, early Christianity and (some) of the characters of the novels. Our next and last film is Agora, on 25 April, 6pm at the Film Unit in the Students’ Union. Book your free tickets here.
Please email Dominik Kocbuch at DFKocbuch1@sheffield.ac.uk or Julia Hillner at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in receiving further information.