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From Shame to Sin

Dr. Kyle Harper

Dr. Kyle Harper: From Shame to Sin

On Sunday, January 27, 2019 Fieldstead and Company welcomed University of Oklahoma historian and author Dr. Kyle Harper for this lecture and discussion on the nature of sexual expression in the late Roman Empire and the changing cultural attitudes toward sexuality, evolving as a result of the proliferation and official adoption of Christianity. Dr. Harper explains that over time the polytheistic and libertine inclinations of the classical world gave way to a decidedly altered view of sexual morality and fundamental shifts in attitudes governing personal conduct as Christian values developed and took root. The freely erotic nature of Roman life gave way to increasingly restrained views of sexuality and a sense of spiritual accountability for what became considered immoral behavior.

Dr. Kyle Harper is Professor of Classics and Letters and Senior Vice President and Provost at The University of Oklahoma. Dr. Harper’s research has focused on the social and economic history of the period spanning the Roman Empire and the early middle ages. His current work on the environmental and population history of the first millennium explores the impact of climate change and disease on the history of civilization. Dr. Harper is author of Slavery in the Late Roman World, AD 275-425 (Cambridge University Press, 2011). The book was awarded the James Henry Breasted Prize by the American Historical Association and the Outstanding Publication Award from the Classical Association of the Middle West and South. His second book, From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality was published by Harvard University Press in 2013.


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