Peripatetic Pedagogy

studia patristica 65


My article “Peripatic Pedagogy: Travel and Transgression in the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles” is now in print in the Studia Patristica series.

Studia Patristica LXV: Papers Presented at the Sixteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies Held in Oxford, 2013

The Greco-Roman world produced two competing discourses on travel: while some writers associate travel with charlatans and outsiders, others valorize it as the way to acquire or demonstrate wisdom. Travel thus becomes a topos for assessing a person’s character and clarifying power relationships. The Apocryphal Acts illustrate these concerns by raising and then refuting the characterization of the apostles as aimless, scheming vagabonds. Instead, they emerge as divinely ordained missionaries charged with enlightening humanity to the message of God. At the same time, their teachings and deeds of power present a challenge to Roman spatial practices: not only do the apostles contest imperial claims of earthly domination through their world travel, but their reappropriation of social territory (e.g. house, prisons, graveyards) produce ‘counterspaces’ that subvert Rome’s constructions of these spaces. The ‘spatial stories’ in the Acts thus present alternative models for self-definition and social organization that invite their audiences to reimagine the ideological foundations of the empire.