Professor of Classics
Ball State University
PhD (University of Illinois)
Chris Shea has taught classics at Ball State for over the last 16 years. She has organized and led many academic excursions to ancient sites in Greece and Italy. She is known as a popular and informative teacher who holds a tremendously positive relationship with students.
Dr. Shea will present a paper as part of the Christianity Seminar II Fall Meeting 2023
Paper Title: Onward, Roman Soldiers: Christianity on the Move with the Imperial Army
Abstract: It had long been thought, because of remarks by ancient commentators such as Celsus, Origen, and Tertullian, that the origins of the Christ communities lay in an uncompromising pacifism. Pacifism may well have played its part in the rhetoric of Christianity and its apologists, but the spread of the philosophy/religion reflects the operations of the Roman army and the unyielding piety of the ordinary soldier.
The Christianity Seminar has long combatted portrayals of early Jesus groups as shareholders of a monolithic Christianity. Pacifism is yet another hook on which scholars, ancient and modern, have hung monolithic musings. This paper first traces the development of the myth of Christian pacifism, following the work of such scholars as John Shean and John Helgelund, then turns to recovering the contributions of another ‘lost’ Christian community.