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Church History Comes to the Big Screen: “Agora”

May 14, 2010

I recently learned that a movie came out last year that dealt with one of the most contentious episodes of church history which is right in the heart of my current research interest. The church historian Socrates records in his church history how during the episcopate of Cyril of Alexandria, the pagan philosopher Hypatia was killed by an enraged Christian mob in the Egyptian city (AD 415). Socrates isn’t clear about whether blame for the event lies with the archbishop, but later generations, at least since Edward Gibbon, used the episode as the prime example of his supposedly fiery and oppressive political tactics. Meanwhile, Hypatia has become something of a martyr saint for the philosophers’ cause, and today there is even a philosophy journal bearing her name. It looks as if the new film does nothing but continue frustrating reading of the scant historical evidence. The trailer is below. I’m assuming that the grim looking Egyptian man in the trailer is supposed to be Cyril. This looks about as one-sided and predictable as a Dan Brown novel.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Adam Winters permalink
    May 15, 2010 9:12 am

    Modernity… Sheesh! Thanks for bringing the complicated history to light, Matt!

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