Susanna Elm

Professor of History and Classics
D.Phil. 1986 Oxford University
Research Interests: 
Late Antiquity, Later Roman Empire, Early Christianity
(510) 642-2238
elm [at]
Office / Location: 
2310 Dwinelle Hall

My research interests are the Later Roman Empire and its transformation into a Christian Empire. My research might be called intellectual history, but firmly anchored in social history, i.e. administration, law, economics, material culture. My next "big" project is tentatively entitled "Of Human and Divine Bondage: Augustine and Slavery." Using some of Augustine's letters I will try to locate more precisely his complex slavery language in the context of the social and economic changes of the early fifth century. Slavery as a metaphor is key for Augustine and others at the time, but how does it relate to the social realities he encountered daily? I am also working ona  a short history of Early Christianity with Professor Rebecca Lyman, commissioned by Cambridge University Press. In addition, I am pursuing my  interests in contemporary medicine and its relation (if any) to ancient medicine - our next conference will be on patient autonomy. I am also part of the faculty of the graduate program in ANCIENT MEDITERRANEAN HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY, AHMA, and on the executive committee of the California Consortium of the Study of Late Antiquity; Lares/Penates, our Northern California group on Late Antique Religions et Society, continues to thrive as does our Rome and Reception Group,

Select Publications: 


Sons of Hellenism, Fathers of the Church: Emperor Julian, Gregory of Nazianzus, and the Vision of Rome. Berkeley: UC Press, 2012.

A Short History of Ancient Christianity. With Rebecca Lyman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011/12 (under contract).

Co-edited Books:

The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Christianity. Ed. Susanna Elm and Rebecca Lyman. Cambridge University Press, under contract.

Quo Vadis Medical Healing. Past Concepts and New Approaches. Ed. Susanna Elm and Stefan Willich. International Library of Ethics, Law and the New Medicine 44. New York: Springer,  2009.


"Autobiography as Apology: Julian, Gregory, Augustine," in Literatur in der Spätantike, Ed. J. Spenger. Berlin 2012.

"Apollinaris of Laodicea and Gregory of Nazianzus. A Reappraisal," in Apollinarius von Laodicea. Ed. Silke Petra Bergjahn and M. Heimholzer. Tübingen 2013.

"Storia di Roma-Storia di Antiochia? Note sulla storiografia Latina tardoantica," in Le vie del sapere in ambito siro-mesopotamico dal III al IX secolo. Ed. S. Elm, M. Pampaloni, C. Tavolieri. Orientalia Christiana Analecta, Special issue, 2012.

"Laughter in Christian Polemics," Studia Patristica, forthcoming.

"Priest and Prophet: Gregory of Nazianzus's Concept of Christian Leadership as Theosis," in Priests and Prophets in the Roman World. Ed. G. Stroumsa, R. Parker, B. Dignas, Oxford, forthcoming.

"Church- Festival-Temple: Reimagining Civic Topography in Late Antiquity," In City-Empire Christendom, Ed. Claudia Rapp, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.

"Waiting for Theodosius, or The Ascetic and the City: Gregory of Nazianzus on Maximus the Philosopher," in Festschrift Philip Rousseau, ed. Blake Leyerle and Robin Darling Young. Duke University Press, forthcoming.

"Die persona des Senators in der Kaiserzeit: Plinius' Bithynien und Tacitus' Britannien," submitted to Phoenix.

"Julian the Writer and His Audience," in Emperor Julian. Ed. N. Baker-Brian and S. Tougher. Cardiff 2012, 1-18.

"Emperors and Priests: Gregory's Theodosius and the Macedonians," in Re-reading Gregory of Nazianzus. Festschrift Frederick Norris, Ed. Christopher Beely. Washington DC, Catholic University Press, 2012, 220-35.

Full CV: