Электронная книга: Paul Veyne «When Our World Became Christian. 312 - 394»

When Our World Became Christian. 312 - 394

This short book by one of France's leading historians deals with a big question: how was it that Christianity, that masterpiece of religious invention, managed, between 300 and 400 AD, to impose itself upon the whole of the Western world? In his erudite and inimitable way, Paul Veyne suggests three possible explanations. Was it because a Roman emperor, Constantine, who was master of the Western world at the time, became a sincere convert to Christianity and set out to Christianize the whole world in order to save it? Or was it because, as a great emperor, Constantine needed a great religion, and in comparison to the pagan gods, Christianity, despite being a minority sect, was an avant-garde religion unlike anything seen before? Or was it because Constantine limited himself to helping the Christians set up their Church, a network of bishoprics that covered the vast Roman Empire, and that gradually and with little overt resistance the pagan masses embraced Christianity as their own religion? In the course of deciding between these explanations Paul Veyne sheds fresh light on one of the most profound transformations that shaped the modern world– the Christianization of the West. A bestseller in France, this book will appeal to a wide readership interested in history, religion and the rise of the modern world.

Издательство: "John Wiley&Sons Limited"

ISBN: 9780745683348

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Paul Veyne

Paul Veyne, born 13 June 1930 in Aix-en-Provence, is a French archaeologist and historian, and a specialist on Ancient Rome. A former student of the École normale supérieure and member of the École française de Rome, he is now honorary professor at the Collège de France.


From an ordinary background, which he described as "uncultured", Veyne took up archaeology and history by chance, at the age of eight, when he discovered a piece of an amphora on a Celtic site close to the village of Cavaillon. He developed a particular interest in Roman civilization since it was the best-known in the environment in which he grew up.

The family having moved to Lille, he assiduously studied the Roman collections of the archaeological museum there, where he received guidance from the curator. He maintains that his interest in the Greeks and Romans stems not from any humanist impulse or any specific admiration, but just from his chance discovery as a child.

Having come to Paris for his khâgne, he had a sudden moment of political awakening in front of the bas-relief that celebrates the liberation of the city at the bottom of the Boulevard St. Michel and joined the Communist Party of France. He left the party four years later, without ever having had a true political conviction.

On the other hand, the bad treatment of the Algerians at the hands of the colonials revolted him in equal measure to the atrocities of the Nazis. Once again, however, his shock was neither social nor political, but moral.

Paul Veyne studied at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris 1951-55. He was a member of the École française de Rome 1955-1957, whereupon he settled in Aix-en-Provence as a professor at the Université de Provence. It was in his years in Aix he published his provocative "Comment on écrit l'histoire", an essay in the epistemology of history. [ Paul Veyne "Comment on écrit l'histoire : essai d'épistémologie", Le Seuil 1970.] At a time when the dominant trend in French historiography favored quantitative methods, Veyne's essay unabashedly declared history to be a "true tale". Through his essay he became an early representative for the interest in the narrative aspects of scientific history.

His monograph on euergetism from 1975 ("Le pain et le cirque"), however, demonstrated that Veyne's concept of narrative somwhat differed from its common use, and that his differences with the hegemonic Annales school was smaller than what had seemed to be the case in 1970. [ Paul Veyne "Le pain et le cirque", Le Seuil 1976.] The book is a comprehensive study of the practice of gift-giving, in the tradition of Marcel Mauss, more in line with the anthropologically influenced "histoire des mentalités" of the third generation "annalistes" than with old fashioned narrative history.

In 1975 Veyne entered the Collège de France thanks to the support of Raymond Aron, who had been abandoned by his former heir apparent Pierre Bourdieu. However, Veyne, by failing to cite the name of Aron in his inaugural lecture, aroused his displeasure, and according to Veyne he was persecuted by Aron ever since this perceived sign of his ingratitude. Fact|date=September 2008 Veyne remained there from 1975 to 1999 as holder of the chair of Roman history.

In 1978 Veyne's epistemological essay was reissued in tandem with a new essay on Michel Foucault as a historian, "Foucault révolutionne l'histoire". [ Paul Veyne "Comment on écrit l'histoire suivi par Foucault révolutionne l'histoire" Le Seuil 1978] In this essay Veyne moved away from the insistence on history as narrative, and focused instead on how the work of Foucault constituted a major shift in historical thinking. The essence of the Foucauldian 'revolution' was, according to Veyne, a shift of attention from 'objects' to 'practices', to highlight the way the epistemological objects were brought into being, rather than the objects themselves. With this essay Veyne established himself as an idiosyncratic and important interpreter of his colleague. The relationship between the historian of antiquities and the philosopher also influenced Foucault's turn towards antiquity with his the second volume of the "History of Sexuality" [David Halperin, "One Hundred Years of Homosexuality", Routledge, 1990, page 64] . In 2008 Veyne published a full length book on Foucault, reworking some of the themes from his 1978 essay, expanding it to an intellectual portrait. [ Paul Veyne "Foucault. Sa Pensée, sa personne." Albin Michel 2008 ]

Paul Veyne now lives in Bédoin, in the Vaucluse.


*"Comment on écrit l'histoire : essai d'épistémologie", Le Seuil, 1970.
*"Le pain et le cirque", Le Seuil, 1976.
*"L'inventaire des différences", Le Seuil, 1976.
*"Les Grecs ont-ils cru à leurs mythes ?", Le Seuil, 1983.
*"L'élégie érotique romaine", Le Seuil, 1983.
*"Histoire de la vie privée", vol. I, Le Seuil, 1987.
*"René Char en ses poèmes", Gallimard, 1990.
*"La société romaine", Le Seuil, 1991.
*"Sénèque, Entretiens, Lettres à Lucilius", revised translation, introduction and notes, Laffont, 1993.
*"Le quotidien et l'intéressant", conversations with Catherine Darbo-Peschanski, Hachette, 1995.
*"Les mystères du gynécée", in collaboration with F. Frontisi-Ducroux and F. Lissarrague, Gallimard, 1998.
*"Sexe et pouvoir à Rome", Tallandier, 2005.
*"L'empire gréco-romain", Le Seuil, 2005.


[This article is a translation of part of the article in French Wikipédia.]

External links

* [http://www.college-de-france.fr/default/EN/all/ins_pro/p1001869038511.htm Paul Veyne sur le site du collège de France]

Источник: Paul Veyne

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