One year after its first appearance my book “Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity: Studies in Text Transmission” (De Gruyter, 2016) has been published as a more affordable paperback reprint edition (Baylor University Press, 2017).

Catherine Nixey has also just published a book for a general readership “The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World” (Pan MacMillan, 2017). She had kindly asked me for feedback on a couple of chapters she drafted, after she read my book, on which she started to work independent of mine.

The two books are currently being discussed on the internet by interested members of the public, for example, in the Vridar blog by Neil Godfrey “Christians, Book-Burning, Temple Destruction and some balance on Nixey’s popular polemic“, in which he kindly mentions the Migration of Faith project.

I think Neil Godfrey’s blog was in reaction to a posting on the Roger Pearse blog, who says he has read neither book, but nevertheless wrote a lengthy post in reaction to a one-line tweet by Catherine Nixey somehow to do with her book. If I understand correctly, he observes in his blog that a line by John Chrysostom (the apostles “have gagged the tongues of the philosophers, and stiched shut the mouths of the rhetoricians”), quoted from my book (p. 202), is not a stand alone line, but does include context, which he borrowed from the one English language translation by Harkins (Catholic University of America Press, Reprint 2001). (“Hunting the wild misquotation again: the perils for the author of not verifying your quotations”)

Yes, this line comes with context: in his work “A Demonstration against the Jews and Pagans that Christ is God” John Chrysostom intends to demonstrate the divinity of Jesus Christ because Christianity was able to overcome pagan science and all their schooling, as I explain in my book. John gives an ex eventu view, from his standpoint, on the apostles having ultimately done the job as the whole world now believe in Christ rather than in external pagan science.

What power a tweet has! We can learn from this that it might be a good idea FIRST to read a book and THEN to comment, even though not everyone seems happy to do this in this day and age where all we want is a quick and dirty read on the internet.

With the more affordable paperback reprint out, perhaps Roger Pearse can afford to buy my book and does not have to rely on the google books preview?



  1. Neil Godfrey

    I should point out that my Vridar blog post mentioned Roger Pearse’s remark only as a postscript; I was primarily reacting to another lengthy criticism of Catherine Nixey’s book by Tim O’Neill, and by extension to a number of other scholars who had expressed strong but (in my view) ill-informed opinions on that book. It was in following up Nixey’s references that I was led to make extensive use of your research. I look forward to reading it more thoroughly.

    1. dirk

      JC is frequently using terms such as wisdom, opinion of the Greeks, or philosophies. Normally this means philosophical systems rejected by Christianity, and often includes natural philosophy.

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