Beyond Authority: Composition and Transmission in Late Antiquity


Letteney, Mark, and AJ Berkovitz, ed. Beyond Authority: Composition and Transmission in Late Antiquity, Forthcoming.


This book arose out of papers presented at a conference of the same name held at Princeton University in May, 2016. The conference aimed to bring together a group of scholars working in the field of late antique Judaism and Christianity for a three day discussion on the place of “authority” in contemporary historiography, and to suggest new methods and avenues which sidestepped some of the problematic features of “authority” as it is used by scholars today. As organizers of the conference, we chose to bring together scholars who had been thinking about these issues within three broad categories: authorship, law, and transmission. Without offering a clear statement of what it would mean to move “beyond authority” in subsequent work, we asked attendants to discuss the history of “authority” in each historiographical discourse, including both the problems that the category solved and the problems that it introduced.  The resulting book speaks to different approaches and different assessments of the usefulness of “authority” as an explanatory framework through which late ancient history may be understood. The solutions are variegated, but the problem is agreed. 

Last updated on 08/10/2017