The talk will discuss the socio-political background that provoked the conflict between the Roman state and the growing Christian community, illustrate the legal basis for the persecution, and touch on the frustration of the Roman authorities, the apocalyptic enthusiasm of the Christians and lastly on the ideology of martyrdom. 

Dr. Heffernan, a native of New York City, completed his Ph.D at Cambridge University (1977) where he studied hagiography, the medieval church and palaeography. He has received the Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Tennessee, is the author of four books, numerous essays and has received fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center and the Huntington Library.

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