University of New Hampshire, Manchester
Classics & Humanities
Mentor: Dr. David Frankfurter, Department of History
Charisma and the Mediator's Role in Mediterranean Religions of the Greco-Roman Period: Participation and Response as Co-Construction
This research will examine how the construction of religious authority in the Roman Empire during the early Common Era can be seen as a function of community, legitimized and supported by interactions which dramatize the social and cultural expectations attached to the mediator's role. Using performance theory, it will analyze the gestures – physical, verbal, and symbolic – through which "performer" and "audience" work synergistically to establish and substantiate the mediator's power. This will be a comparative study of the dynamics of mediation as embodied in a cross-cultural selection of intermediary figures drawn from a wide variety of primary texts, including works by Lucian and Philostratus, New Testament and apocryphal sources, and the lives of early Christian saints.