Publication by Jan Stenger, EURIAS Fellow 2015/2016


Sp├Ątantike Konzeptionen von Literatur [Late antique conceptions of literature]

Jan R. Stenger (ed.), Winter, Heidelberg, 2015.


Late antiquity is a period in which authors intensely engaged with the literary heritage of earlier centuries and simultaneously produced a striking mass of texts, both in prose and poetry. Commentators, poets and prose writers frequently dealt with classical literature, and exegetes struggled to uncover the accurate meaning of Scripture. Changing cultural conditions, such as the spread of Christianity, generated a characteristically late antique aesthetics, but also novel ways of thinking about what nowadays we call ‘literature’. In creatively dealing with canonical texts, for example Plato’s dialogues and Vergil’s Aeneid, late antique thinkers considered questions of authorship, referentiality, hermeneutics and audience response. The contributions to this volume (in English and German) analyse to what extent intellectuals of the late Roman Empire developed theories about what literature is and what effects it can have. Further, it is discussed whether these reflections can be considered specific to late antiquity. The volume includes studies of, among others, Augustine, Claudian, John Chrysostom and historiography. They aim at an innovative reassessment of the literary sphere of late antiquity and seek to build a bridge between classical studies and modern literary studies.