Religious Studies

Jonas Grethlein

Lucian's Response to Augustine Conversion and Narrative in Confessions and Nigrinus

Volume 2 () / Issue 2, pp. 256-278 (23)

In the case of the extraordinary experience of a conversion, the shortcomings of a verbal rendering are felt with particular force. Augustine's account of his conversion in Confessions 8, however, not only ignores the gap between experience and narrative, but entwines them in a way that seems to erase the boundary between Life and life. In Nigrinus, Lucian trenchantly satirises the kind of chain between conversion and its representation envisaged by Augustine. At the same time, a comparison with the much later reception of the Confessions in Petrarch throws into relief the common ground which Lucian and Augustine share. Taken together, the Confessions and the Nigrinus give us a glimpse of what may have been a rich tradition of protreptic conversion literature in the Hellenistic and Imperial Eras.

Jonas Grethlein Geboren 1978; 1997–2002 Studium in Göttingen, Oxford und Freiburg; 2002 Promotion; 2003 Emmy-Noether-Programm; 2005 Habilitation; 2007 Assistant Professor an der University of California, Santa Barbara; seit 2008 Professor in Heidelberg; 2013–18 ERC Starting Grant; seit 2021 ordentliches Mitglied der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften.