PSCO Presentation: 31 March, 2011

“Legislating Religious Identity in Late Antiquity: The Example of the Theodosian Code”

Elizabeth Castelli (Barnard College)


For our March session of PSCO, Elizabeth Castelli will be speaking on "Legislating Religious Identity in Late Antiquity: The Example of the Theodosian Code." This session will be run seminar-style, discussing Book XVI of the Theodosian Code. She thus asks that attendees make sure to have read Book XVI of the Theodosian Code in advance of the meeting, so that we can “think together about how religious identities got legislated and codified in a fashion ancillary but related to the ways that religious communities themselves were generating their own categories of identity and difference.” She further notes: “Law is, of course, a very particular genre, and it carries a particular weight that is rather different from the some of the other sources we customarily read (e.g., polemics, sermons/exegeses, and so on) to get at the issue of religious identity in late antiquity... Having an ancient text in common will give us a place from which to begin talking about the contemporary difficulties in pinning down ’Judaism,’ ‘Christianity’ and their ‘others.’ ”


Elizabeth A. Castelli is Professor and Chair of the Religion Department at Barnard College. She is a specialist in biblical studies, early Christianity, and feminist/gender studies in religion. For further information, visit her profile at Barnard University.

Suggested Reading

If you would like PDF copies of the primary source for Elizabeth's session, and some supplementary background readings, please contact Phil Fackler (

You must have Java enabled to see this info.


Meeting and Dining

All are welcome! Those wishing to dine together before the seminar will meet at 6:00 pm in the Cohen Hall Second-Floor Lounge to go next door to the food court in Houston Hall.