Christianity in the second century: themes and developments

20 March 2013 - 22 March 2013

CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT


James Carleton Paget  (Faculty of Divinity / Peterhouse)

Judith Lieu (Faculty of Divinity)

Simon Gathercole (Faculty of Divinity / Fitzwilliam College)


Conference Summary

The significance of the second century for the development of Christianity has been acknowledged for many years. After all, it could be argued that in this century a small messianic sect within Judaism begin, in a variety of ways, to establish itself as a more permanent presence in the world. And yet despite the importance of the century, there has been no study devoted exclusively to its discussion. This is made all the more striking, even odd, as in recent times much work, in a variety of disciplines, and so not devoted specifically to early Christian studies, has been done which has significant implications for our understanding of the period. Our inter-disciplinary conference, entitled ‘Christianity in the second century: themes and developments’, brings together Classicists, historians of ancient Judaism and of early Christianity in an attempt to take stock of this changing scholarly landscape, and with ancient Christianity as its principal focus, explore ways in which that movement both reflected, differed from and changed the cultural, social, religious and political background of the time. Amongst the broad questions addressed will be the subject of Christianity’s relationship to Judaism, persecution and politics, canon and literary culture, exclusion and inclusion, ideas of doctrine and practice, myth and philosophy, all of which pertain in one way or another to the complex subject of Christianity’s developing identity.



Supported by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH),  University of Cambridge.



Entrance to the whole event will be free but please note that this is a closed conference. Only the Plenary Session taking place at CRASSH at 18.30 on 20th March will be open to all. If you have a strong interest in attending the whole conference, please send an email to by 10 March 2013.


Accommodation for non-paper giving delegates

We are unable to arrange accommodation, however, the following websites may be of help.

Visit Cambridge
Cambridge Rooms
University of Cambridge accommodation webpage

NB. CRASSH is not able to help with the booking of accommodation.


Administrative assistance:


Location : CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT

Date : 20-22 March 2013

20 March 2013


10.00 - 10.45


10.45 - 11.00

Welcome and Introduction

11.00 - 12.45

The Second Century from a New Testament and Patristic Perspective

  • Dr. James Carleton Paget, University of Cambridge
  • Prof. Lewis Ayres, University of Durham

12.45 - 13.45


13.45 - 15.30

The Second Century as Laboratory

  • Prof. Winrich Loehr, University of Heidelberg
  • Prof. J. M. Lieu, University of Cambridge

15.30 - 16.00


16.00 - 17.45

 Jews and Judaism

  • Prof. Tessa Rajak, University of Oxford
  • Prof. Philip Alexander, University of Manchester

18.30 - 20.00

Plenary Session (open to all)

  • Pagan attitudes: Christianity observed in the second century CE, Prof. John North, Institute of Classical Studies




21 March 2013


8.30 - 9.00


9.00 - 10.45

The Politics of the Graeco-Roman World

  • Prof. William Horbury, University of Cambridge
  • Prof. Greg Woolf, University of St. Andrews

10.45 - 11.15


11.15 - 13.00

Authoritative Texts

  • Dr. Rebecca Flemming, University of Cambridge
  • Prof. Joseph Verheyden, University of Leuven

13.00 - 14.00


14.00 - 15.45

Doctrine and Practice

  • Prof. Teresa Morgan, University of Oxford
  • Prof. Laura Nasrallah, Harvard University

15.45 - 16.15


16.15 - 18.00

The 'Gnostic Myth'

  • Prof. Karen King, Harvard University
  • Dr. Mark Edwards, University of Oxford




22 March 2013


8.30 - 9.00


9.00 - 10.45

The Third Race

  • Prof. O. Skarsaune, Oslo
  • Prof. Erich Gruen, University of California, Berkeley

10.45 - 11.15


11.15 - 13.00 

Patterns of Thought in the Graeco-Roman World

  • Prof. Tim Whitmarsh, University of Exceter
  • Prof. Gillian Clark, University of Bristol

13.00 - 14.15


14.15 - 16.00

Summary of the conference, followed by general discussion