Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Hellenic Studies, Supported by the Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity, 2018-2019
Yuliya Minets studies intellectual and social processes in Late Antiquity with special attention to the history of early Christianity, the relationship between its different branches, and their connections with traditional Greco-Roman culture, Rabbinic Judaism, and later with Islam. She received her BA and MA in history from the National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” and MA in Medieval studies from the Central European University. Her first dissertation, supported by the Dumbarton Oaks Fellowship, analyzed the narrative strategies that Palladius of Helenopolis, an important early Christian writer, employed in his works, the Dialogue on John Chrysostom and the Lausiac History; it used reader-response criticism in order to explain why one author could produce two such disparate compositions. After she received a degree of Candidate in History (Kyiv, 2011), the PhD program at the Catholic University of America became an opportunity to expand the vision of Christianity through the study of the Syriac and Coptic languages. This raised her interests in problems of multilingualism and language contacts in the past and brought her to the current project.
I am working on my book “The Slow Fall of Babel: Languages and Identities in Late Antique Christianity. The project seeks to expand the original scope of my dissertation, to explore early Christian ideas on languages, linguistic history and diversity, and to investigate how different languages and language-related socio-cultural stereotypes influenced the formation of distinctly Christian and specific confessional identities in the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Europe and the Near East. I argue that Christianity in Late Antiquity became an unprecedented cultural and social factor that stimulated an ever-increasing engagement with foreign languages and traditions among Christian intellectuals and ruling elites. I trace how the role of language as a factor of group identity changed in Late Antiquity under the growing influence of Christianity and how different these processes were in the Greek, Latin, and Syriac milieux.