Keith Hopkins

Keith Hopkins is Professor of Ancient History at Cambridge and a fellow of King’s College.

Half-Resurrection Man

Keith Hopkins, 19 June 1997

There were many St Pauls in Antiquity. Even more are still being invented. About each, there are stories, doubts, ambiguities. One problem is that Paul is an icon of early Christianity, and of Western culture. His central significance for later Christian theology means that any interpretation of his thought is necessarily grounded in personal belief, or prejudice. Objectivity is neither achievable, nor perhaps desirable. And this problem is compounded for those who wish to write about his life and character, because we know extraordinarily little about either.

Fire Down Below

Keith Hopkins, 10 November 1994

Hell is not just God’s vengeance on humanity, nor is it only, in Sartre’s sardonic phrase, other people. To be sure, it can be the tortured, persecutory visions of a few psychotic madmen. But the most troublesome, pervasive hell is the nightmarish world which each of us constructs, unconsciously, in the sweat of unconfessed, unconfessable fantasies. Hell is that private world of shame, fear and terror, that we have all sometimes felt, and have hoped to forget in the public daily world of post-breakfast conventionality. Hell, for modern liberals, whether atheists or believers, is the vulnerable undercurrent behind the mask of respectability.

Are you a Christian? Do you believe? Do you believe that Jesus of Nazareth was born in Bethlehem, thanks to a Roman census, on a day corresponding to 25 December, at the end of a year...

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M.I. Finley, 22 December 1983

The durability of the Roman ruling class, despite the continuing loss of individual families, was perhaps unique in history. From the establishment of a republic at the end of the sixth century...

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