Dr Neil McLynn

Academic Background

I joined the Faculty on 1 April 2007 as University Lecturer in Later Roman History. I studied classics and did my doctorate at Oxford, before moving to Japan in 1990. Until 2007 I taught in the Faculty of Law at Keio University, where I gave courses on a variety of subjects ranging from Shakespeare to International Relations. The experience has left me with a weakness for Japanese history in particular and for other people's subjects in general. To maintain my Japanese ties I run an annual summer school for Keio students in Oxford. During term I am much involved in the Oxford Centre for Late Antiquity, which organizes and hosts a busy round of research seminars.

Research Interests

My research interests revolve mostly around the intricacies of religious politics in Late Antiquity. I am currently writing a book on the career of Gregory Nazianzen, a fourth-century churchman whose writings illuminate the workings of politics (secular, ecclesiastical and cultural) both in the small provincial town of Nazianzus and in the imperial capital of Constantinople. To delay the completion of this project I have recently embarked on research into some of the more complex episodes in the career of Augustine of Hippo, and the development of the Donatist schism.

Research Keywords

Late Antiquity, Religion, Roman History


At undergraduate level I teach both classical history (particularly the Religions of the Roman World and Conversion of Augustine papers) and ‘modern' history (European and World History I, and the Augustine Special Subject), and do what I can to encourage students (above all those taking the AMH joint school) to explore the late antique period as a bridge between the artificially separated disciplines of ancient and modern history. Most of my teaching is for graduates, especially the late antique history component of the Late Antique and Byzantine Studies MSt programme.


Full Publications:

Selected Publications:

Ambrose of Milan: Church and Court in a Christian Capital, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1994.

‘The Transformations of Imperial Churchgoing in the Fourth Century': in Approaching Late Antiquity, ed. M. Edwards and S. Swain (Oxford, 2004), 235-270.

‘Disciplines of Discipleship in Late Antique Education: Augustine and Gregory Nazianzen': in Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, ed. M. Vessey and K. Pollmann (Oxford, 2005), 49-65.

‘Among the Hellenists: Gregory and the Sophists': in Gregory of Nazianzus: Images and Reflections, ed. J. Børtnes and T. Hägg (Copenhagen, 2006), 213-238.

‘Crying Wolf: The Pope and the Lupercalia', Journal of Roman Studies 98 (2008), 161, 175.

Christian Politics and Religious Culture in Late Antiquity (Variorum collected studies series: Ashgate, Aldershot, 2009).

Julian and the Christian Professors’, in Being Christian in Late Antiquity, ed. C. Harrison, C. Humfress, and I. Sandwell (Oxford, OUP, 2014), 120-138.

‘Poetry and Pagans in Late Antique Rome: The Case of the Senator “Converted from the Christian Religion to Servitude to the Idols”’: in Pagans and Christians in Late Antique Rome, ed. M. R. Salzman, M. Saghy, and R. Lizzi Testa (Cambridge, CUP, 2016).

‘The Conference of Carthage Reconsidered’: in The Donatist Schism: Controversy and Contexts, ed. R. Miles (Liverpool, LUP, 2016).

--Exploring Gregory of Nyssa: Philosophical, Theological, and Historical Studies. Ed. with Anna Marmodoro (Oxford, OUP, 2018)


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