Thursday, January 8, 2009

Professor Peter Robert Lamont Brown, Historian.

First and foremost, this blog aims to provide the cyberspace with high resolution photographs of Peter Brown. Most of his readers, admirers, and prize-givers feel dismayed by the lack of personal images on the web of a man of such a relevance. Then, here they are.
You may use it free of charges, in the proper way. It’s up to you to decide if and when is it necessary to quote authorship.

Hereby, you can find also some useful references and sources about Peter Brown’s life and works. I would recommend especially reading his honorific lectures, which offer to the reader the rich opportunity to follow such a magnificent and creative mind in his historic and genetic intimacy, truth and self commitment.

Peter Brown is one of the greatest humanists ever, and one of the best historians since the times of Herodotus and Thucydides. Although he applies a large amount of imagination, intuition, and literary aesthetics to his works, these are always the result of deep and extensive research, covering with wisdom a vast array of languages, academic fields, theories, literatures, arts, geographic areas, and historical times. It means, of course, constant and voluminous work; sun, rain, and even angels may fall from heaven, but not true erudition.

Peter Brown received some very important prizes, such as the Arts Council of Great Britain Award (1967), the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award (1989), the Vursell Award (1990), the Heineken Prize, Amsterdam (1994), the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Lettres et des Arts (1996), and an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship (2002), as well as Princeton's President's Award for Distinguished Teaching (2000) and, in 2008, The Kruger Prize of the Library of the Congress. Even so, I hope the counselors of the Nobel Committees in Stockholm can realize that the last and only historian to win the Nobel prize was Theodor Mommsen (1902), more than a century ago. Now, they have the opportunity to chancel to their worldly audiences the name of the author of one of the most important turning points in the humanities in the last decades: Peter Robert Lamont Brown, the demiourgos of Late Antique studies.

At a more personal level, I must add my testimony of the true human greatness of Peter Brown. I (and probably you, dear reader) know many masters and wonderful persons of different levels and ranks, but no one is comparable to Peter Brown in human greatness. It is not only about humanistic excellence or academic radiance. It is about a true sense of life, beauty, meaning, and friendship. Even being a high-mileage 1935 Irish model, he displays a permanent youthfulness (isn't he, in fact, Peter Pan?), and has a refreshing pleasure in living in a running world of wishes, curiosities, needs, travels, news, cities, and people. So, around him, there’s always an ambiance of intense life and beautiful motivation. It is my opinion that Peter Brown is someone whose life and work has been enhancing humankind, opening new paths of understanding, as well as providing exempla that must be honored. The ancients would praise such a man with heroic honors, others (like some of his students) would try to deify him. It is beautiful to see how he, enveloped by the love and cares of Betsy, much cherished by his many friends, can survive all that and keep being Peter Brown, ever moving forward.

Peter Brown and Rita Lizzi-Testa

Peter by himself

A Life of Learning
Charles Homer Haskins Lecture, on May 9, 2003
at the ACLS Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA

Peter Brown, presented by John Rawlings

In the winter of 2002/2003, Peter Brown delivered at the University of Stanford the lecture "Scholarship and Imagination: The Study of Late Antiquity" (Stanford Presidential Lectures in the Humanities and Arts ). Then, John Rawlings prepared a good presentation of the lecturer, which you can read here.

You may see also his presentation on the webpage of the Department of History of Princeton University, where since 1986 he is the Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History, as well as his wikipedia entry.

Peter Brown: What's in a name?

What's in a name?
A talk given at the opening of Oxford Centre for Late Antiquity
on Friday 28 September 2007.

Peter Brown reviews

Reviews published in The New York Review of Books.

In this picture, Pierre Chuvin, Peter Brown and Claude Lepelley, at Bose (IT), 2008

Peter Brown, selected bibliography

Augustine of Hippo: A Biography (1967/2000) – ISBN 0-520-22757-3

The World of Late Antiquity: AD 150–750 (1971/1989) – ISBN 0-393-95803-5
Reviewed by W.H.C. Frend
Excerpts in GoogleBooks.

Religion and Society in the Age of Saint Augustine (1972) - ISBN 1556351747
Excerpts in GoogleBooks.

The Making of Late Antiquity (1978) – ISBN 0-674-54321-1
Excerpts in GoogleBooks.

The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity (1981) – ISBN 0-226-07622-9
Excerpts in GoogleBooks.

Society & the Holy in Late Antiquity (1982) – ISBN 978-0-520-06800-1

Chapter "L'Antiquité Tardive" in Histoire de la vie privée, vol. I, Le Seuil, 1987, org. Paul Veyne

The Body and Society: Men, Women, and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity (1988) – ISBN 0-231-06101-3
Reviewed by Peter Wirth, Essays in Criticism, XXXX, 1990, vol. 1, pp. 67-76: The Rout of the Body
Reviewed by David Brow ( 1991; 4; 80 Studies in Christian Ethics)

Power and Persuasion: Towards a Christian Empire (1992) - ISBN-10: 0299133443
Reviewed by Carl L. Bankston, III: Commonweal,  April 9, 1993
Excerpts in GoogleBooks:

Authority and the Sacred: Aspects of the Christianisation of the Roman world (1995) – ISBN 0-521-49904-6
Excerpts in GoogleBooks.

The Rise of Western Christendom (1996/2003)– ISBN 0-631-22138-7
Excerpts in GoogleBooks.

Chapters 21 & 22 in The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume XIII, The Late Empire, A.D. 337–425 (1998) – ISBN 0-521-30200-5

Late Antiquity - A Guide to the Postclassical World, Edited by G. W. Bowersock, Peter Brown & Oleg Grabar (1999) ISBN 10: 0-674-51173-5
Winner of the 1999 Professional/Scholarly Publishing Award of the Association of American Publishers, History Category
Excerpts in GoogleBooks.

Interpreting Late Antiquity. Essays on the Postclassical World. (with G.W. Bowersock & Oleg Grabar,)   ISBN 0-674-00598-8.  
Reviewed by Jan den Boeft, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2002.04.07
Google books:

Poverty and Leadership in the Later Roman Empire (2002) - ISBN-13: 978-1584651468
Excerpts in GoogleBooks.

Peter Brown, Festschriften

The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages - Essays on the contribution of Peter R. L. Brown, By James Howard-Johnston & Paul Antony Hayward (2000) ISBN 13: 978-0198269786

Reviewed by Michael Cahill, Journal of Early Christian Studies 9.1 (2001) 145-146:

The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Essays on the Contribution of Peter Brown

James Howard-Johnston and Paul Anthony Hayward, editors. The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Essays on the Contribution of Peter Brown. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Pp. x + 298. $74.00

This collection of essays is made up of five parts, with an introduction by James Howard-Johnston. Part I, entitled "The Cult of Saints in Peter Brown," contains two essays: "On Defining the Holy Man" by Averil Cameron, and "Ascetics as Mediators and as Teachers" by Philip Rousseau. Part II, entitled "The Cult of Saints in Eastern Christendom" has two essays: "'For Next to God, You Are My Salvation': Reflections on the Rise of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity" by Claudia Rapp, and "'What We Heard in the Lives of the Saints We Have Seen with Our Own Eyes': The Holy Man as Literary Text in Tenth-Century Constantinople" by Paul Magdalino. Part III, "The Cult of Saints in Western Christendom," comprises three essays: "Demystifying the Role of Sanctity in Western Christendom" by Paul Antony Hayward; "The Origins of the Carolingian Attempt to Regulate the Cult of Saints" by Paul Fouracre; and "The Missionary Life" by Ian N. Wood. Part IV, "The Cult of Saints in medieval Rus,'" has two essays: Holy Men and the Transformation of Political Space in Medieval Rus'" by Paul A. Hollinsworth, and "The Holy Man and Christianization from the Apocryphal Apostles to St. Stephen of Perm" by Richard M. Price. Part V, entitled "The Cult of Saints in Islam," has two essays: "Prophecy and Holy Men in Early Islam" by Chase Robinson, and "The Etiquette of Devotion in the Islamic Cult of Saints" by Josef W. Meri.

The subtitle is to be given full weight. The volume has its origin in a conference held at Oxford in summer 1996 to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of Peter Brown's seminal article, "The Rise and Function of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity" (Journal of Roman Studies 61 [1971]: 80.1-1; repr. in Society and Holy in Late Antiquity [London, 1982]). Six of the contributors are former pupils and this explains and indeed pardons the faint hagiographical tone to be noted (ironically!) at times in the collection.

The editor explains that the spread of the essays is due to the attempt "to follow Peter Brown's example and to keep the screen wide," and "to demonstrate the vitality that he imparted to the study . . . of a formative transitional period in West Eurasian history" (5). The result is that the essays cover a wide spectrum of specialized disciplines. In each case familiarity with the current literature and debate is presumed as the argument is carried forward. The editors' introduction is particularly useful to the generalist, especially in that it also serves as a "conclusion" in which he succeeds in showing the horizontal connections [End Page 145] between essays. In particular one may note the helpful consideration of the similarities and dissimilarities between the Christian and Islamic "saints." In this the editor reflects well the perspicacious nuance that characterizes the two studies of saints in Islam that conclude this volume. It is easy when offering a critique to complain of what is not dealt with; yet, significant omissions must at least be mentioned. The pagan holy man and the Jewish holy man, though both alive and well in this "West Eurasian" world of late antiquity, get little attention. In this regard it appears that the disciples' concerns reflect accurately the contours of the master's perspective. The outreach to Islam was clearly sanctioned by Brown in his endorsement of Henri Pirenne in 1974: ". . . to have introduced Islam into a debate previously restricted to western Europe was a master stroke of integration, the brightest 'leap' of current of all between two hitherto separate poles" ("Mohammed and Charlemagne by Henri Perinne," as reprinted in Society and Holy in Late Antiquity, 68). Attention is given to the pagan world, but mainly from the point of view of the struggle between pagans and Christianizing missionaries.

There is a note on each contributor and a generous index. In its Festschrift aspect this book is an excellent testimony to the worth of Peter Brown's work.

Michael Cahill, Department of Theology, Duquesne University

Excerpts in GoogleBooks.

The Philosopher and Society in Late Antiquity: Essays in Honour of Peter Brown, Andrew Smith (Ed.) (2000), ISBN 095438458X
Papers originally given at a conference at University College Dublin 27-30 June 2001, held under the auspices of the Dublin Centre for the Study of the Platonic Tradition.