The 5th Annual James M. and Margaret H. Costan Lecture in Early Christianity

The Theology Department, Georgetown University

Invites you to

The 5th Annual James M. and Margaret H. Costan Lecture in Early Christianity

Robin Jensen, University of Notre Dame
& J. Patout Burns, Vanderbilt University

“Altar, Clergy, and People:
Symbolizing Christ in Ancient African Christianity”

Thursday, October 25, 2018, 5:00 p.m.
ICC Auditorium

Robin Jensen is The Patrick O’Brien Professor of Theology (and concurrent faculty in Art, Art History, and Design; Fellow, Medieval Institute Fellow, Nanovic Institute), University of Notre Dame.

J. Patout Burns is Edward A. Malloy Professor of Catholic Studies, Vanderbilt Divinity School, Emeritus.

Jensen and Burns are co-authors of Christianity in Roman Africa: The Development of its Practices and Beliefs (Eerdmans Press, 2014). Winner, 2015 Catholic Press Association Book Award (History).

Description of lecture: “Augustine’s teaching on the sanctifying presence of Christ was shaped by his interpretation of the Old and New Testament scriptures, by his understanding of conflict over episcopal holiness that divided the African church, and by the influence of the spatial arrangements used during the celebration of the Eucharist. The presentation will use the archeological evidence for the placement of the altar and ambo in African basilicas and the transcripts of his sermons to the congregation to distinguish the roles of clergy and laity in his church.”

Event Accessibility: Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made by Oct. 22, 2018 to Ms. Nelise Jeffrey, Theology Department, 202-687-5846,  A good faith effort will be made to fulfill requests made after that time.

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Jensen’s other books include:

  • The Cross: History, Art, and Controversy (Harvard University Press, 2017);
  • Baptismal Imagery in Early Christianity (Baker Academic Press, 2012). Second place, 2013 Catholic Press Association Book Award (Liturgy).
  • Living Water: The Art and Architecture of Ancient Christian Baptism (Brill Publishers, Vigiliae Christianae Supplementary Series, 2011).
  • Face to Face: The Portrait of the Divine in Early Christianity (Fortress Press, 2005).
  • The Substance of Things Seen: Art, Faith, and the Christian Community (Eerdmans Press, 2004).
  • Understanding Early Christian Art (Routledge Press, 2000).
  • The Routledge Handbook to Early Christian Art, co-edited with Mark Ellison (Routledge Press, forthcoming 2018, currently in press).
  • The Art of Empire: Christian Art in its Imperial Context, co-edited with Lee Jefferson (Fortress Press, 2015).
  • Visual Theology, co-editor with Kimberly Vrudny (Liturgical Press, 2009).
  • In progress: The Cambridge History of Late Antique Archaeology, co-edited with Leonard Rutgers, Jodi Magness, and Neil Christie (Cambridge University Press, anticipated 2019).
  • Baptisteries of the Early Christian World, co-edited with Richard Rutherford and Maxwell Johnson (Brill Publishers, anticipated 2020).

Burns’s other books include:

  • The Development of Augustine’s Doctrine of Operative Grace (Paris: Etudes Augustiennes, 1980).
  • Theological Anthropology, editor and translator (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981).
  • The Holy Spirit, editor and translator, with Gerald M. Fagin (Wilmington: Michael Glazier, 1984; Republished, Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2002).
  • Christians and the Military: The Early Experience, with John Helgeland and Robert Daly (Philadelphia:  Fortress Press,      1985;  Japanese edition, 1986;  London: SCM Press, 1987).
  • Enrollments, Finances and Student Aid at Catholic Colleges and Universities 1982-84, with David M. Johnson (Washington: Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, 1986).
  • War and its Discontents:  Pacifism and Quietism in the Abrahamic Traditions, edited with an introduction and concluding essay (Washington:  Georgetown University Press, 1996).
  • Cyprian the Bishop (London: Routledge, 2002).
  • Romans: Interpreted by Early Christian Commentators, editor and translator, with Father Constantine Newman. The Church’s Bible. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012.

Visit our special programs page for postings of previous lectures, information on future lectures, and other resources for the study of Early Christianity.