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Axum Rose

That ancient Christian obelisk, looted by Mussolini from Ethiopia, is being re-erected in its homeland — an archeologically delicate operation:

The site is sensitive because the obelisk is the second of a group of six that may have been carved when Christianity first arrived in Ethiopia in the first half of the fourth century. Believed to be enormous tombstones, they range from 17 to 33 metres in height, each one unique, but all carved to resemble a block of dwellings several storeys high. Archaeological excavations of the site revealed a dense underground network of burial chambers and connecting tunnels.

For related links, visit this page in our archives.

While at RBTE in Chicago, I bought a lovely, small Ethiopian cross that’s now a constant in my line of sight, right by the computer.

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Tantalizing Books

Bryn Mawr Classical reviews Bible Manuscripts: 1400 Years of Scribes and Scripture, a “collection of beautifully reproduced leaves from bible manuscripts in the collection of the British Library.”

Also reviewed: Jaclyn L. Maxwell’s Christianization and Communication in Late Antiquity: John Chrysostom and his Congregation in Antioch. Here’s a taste:

John Chrysostom was one of the most significant Christian preachers during the period in which Christian orthodoxy was being established in the fourth and fifth centuries AD. Despite the name attributed to him (the golden-mouthed), Chrysostom is more readily remembered for the controversies he encountered with the eastern bishops and the empress Eudoxia following his appointment as Bishop of Constantinople in AD 398. This increasingly troubled period for Chrysostom saw his deposition and recall on a number of occasions before his death in lonely exile in AD 407. These events have tended to overshadow Chrysostom’s career as a priest and preacher in Antioch where his considerable reputation as an eloquent preacher was forged.

Maxwell’s book provides a most welcome focus on Chrysostom as preacher in Antioch and makes a valuable contribution to understanding the interaction between the preacher and his diverse audience in the Syrian metropolis in the 380s and 390s. Her aim is to demonstrate from Chrysostom’s sermons how the preacher’s interaction with his audience at Antioch reflects the attitudes and concerns present in the lives of the Christian laity. It is largely through this method that Maxwell examines the process of Christianization in Antioch in the late fourth century AD and she succeeds well in doing so. The book is well organized and clearly written, fitting of the skill Chrysostom himself developed in communicating with a diverse audience.

Hat tip: Rogue Classicism.