In memory of Louis Wilson Greenwood (1917–2011)
It is my great pleasure to recognize the numerous debts I have acquired in the production of this book. The scholar who has most influenced this project is clearly my doctoral supervisor, Peter Brown. I greatly appreciate his patience with my first faltering steps into the world of Theodore of Mopsuestia and his constant encouragement throughout every stage of this project. His enthusiasm for all things late antique continues to inspire me and I know that most of the questions I find interesting derive in one way or another from conversations with him. Many of the most enjoyable of these conversations took place along with his wife, Betsy Brown, who never lacks a kind word of encouragement, or a delightful story of far off travel. I owe a debt of gratitude to them both.
Princeton University offered many people and programs whose influence appears in the pages that follow. William C. Jordan, Tia Kolbaba, John Gager, Peter Schäfer, and AnneMarie Luijendijk, as well as Kathleen McVey at Princeton Theological Seminary, have all had a hand in shaping my intellectual interests. Most of them have offered their insights on portions of this book at one stage or another of its production. While Peter Brown urged me to pursue Syriac, Emmanuel Papoutsakis actually gave me my first instruction in the language. Without him I would have likely ended up working on very different sources and certainly would not have produced this book. I am grateful for his patience and dedication as a teacher. The Hellenic Studies Program, under the very capable direction of Dimitri Gondicas, offered a stimulating contribution to my thinking and a friendly place for scholarly interaction throughout my time at Princeton. The Center for the Study of Religion provided a welcome home for several years, my thanks to the director Robert Wuthnow, associate director Jenny Wiley Legath, and program manager Anita Kline. I owe many thanks as well to the participants in the Center’s Religion and Culture Workshop for reading my early drafts and providing very helpful comments and critiques. The Group for the Study of Late Antiquity and the Program in the Ancient World also played vital roles in my development at Princeton.
I owe a special debt of gratitude to several people at the University of Oxford where I spent one year as a graduate student and another as an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Averil Cameron has consistently offered encouragement and insightful comments on my work, for which I am deeply grateful. David Taylor showed great patience and true charity by meeting with me to read through Theodore’s Catechetical Homilies in Syriac. Neil McLynn and Arietta Papaconstantinou also provided a hospitable and stimulating environment in which to consider questions of conversion from a great variety of perspectives. I would also like to thank Johannes Hahn. The research position he provided in the Exzellenzcluster in “Religion und Politik” at Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster allowed me to finish the dissertation and his comments on that project provided food for thought as I have pursued the completion of this volume.
Many other friends and colleagues have commented in part or in whole on the book that follows and have provided invaluable intellectual and personal support. I would like to extend a special thanks to Kutlu Akalin, Philip Booth, Sara Brooks, Side Emre, Jan Willem Drijvers, Scott Johnson, Maja Kominko, Derek Krueger, Volker Menze, David Michelson, Yannis Papadogiannakis, Richard Payne, Lisa Ramos, Brian Rouleau, Richard Snoddy, Jack Tannous, Katherine Unterman, and Erin Wood. Jelena Bogdanovic graciously provided the photos for the cover of the book. I am very grateful to her for sharing those photos and for her friendship.
I could not have written this book without the love and support of my family. My parents, Donald Schwartz and Lois Schwartz have tirelessly supported me through many years of pursuing intellectual interests that often seemed obscure to them. The generosity and affection of my sister and brother-in-law, Kristen Robinson and Jon Robinson, never cease to amaze me. Megan Schwartz, the linchpin of my life and its greatest joy, has enthusiastically embraced this project as it has led us to three countries and two states. Her love sustains me each day and I am deeply grateful for her support. I dedicate this book to the memory of my maternal grandfather, Louis Wilson Greenwood. I remember him as a loving husband, father, and grandfather with a playful wit and a true generosity of spirit. He was a veteran of the Second World War and a construction contractor for over forty years. And while his love and support remained unwavering, I know he never quite understood how it could take me so long to produce anything substantial. This is for you Gramps.