Associate Professor Michael Champion

Late-Antique and Early Christian Studies
Director, ACU Node, ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions
Acting Associate Dean (Research)

ACU Researcher

Areas of Expertise: Early Christianity; late-antique and medieval history; ancient philosophy; Classical to Byzantine cultural and intellectual history; history of emotions; history of violence; Classical receptions 

Phone: +61 3 9230 8226

Email: michael.champion@acu.edu.au

Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

BSc., BA(Hons), MA (Melb), BD(Hons), AKC, PhD (Lond)

I specialise in late-antique and early Christian studies and the philosophy, history, culture, and reception of the ancient Mediterranean world up to Byzantium. I am a member of the Biblical and Early Christian Studies and Medieval and Early Modern Studies Programs of the IRCI.

I welcome graduate students across these areas and especially in history of education, history of emotions, health humanities (especially history and ethics), and the religious, cultural and intellectual history of late antiquity and Byzantium. My ACU students have studied diverse topics including historical and constructive accounts of compassion and suffering in the context of end-of-life ethics, Cyril of Alexandria’s thought, and Irenaeus’ account of divine simplicity. My students have gone on to successful careers in academia and education.

My current research investigates traditions of classical education, ethics, and law, drawing on history of emotions and reception studies. In these projects, I study early Christian accounts of human flourishing, late-antique education and justifications for classical language learning, the work emotions do in different educational contexts, and intellectual traditions, social practices, institutions, and emotional contours associated with concepts of justice and equity.

In work on ancient education, Dorotheus of Gaza and Ascetic Education (OUP 2022) aims to advance understanding of late-antique education through an investigation of Dorotheus’ ascetic pedagogy. I have also explored Dorotheus’ reception by Jesuit Humanists. In my contribution to an Australian Research Council Discovery Project (with Yasmin Haskell, Joe LoBianco and others) I investigate late-antique rhetorical education and examples of ancient language pedagogy.

A project on justice and equity from the classical world to Byzantium explores ethical alternatives to the just war tradition, asking how successive classical and Christian cultures conceptualised justice in war. The project builds on an earlier collaborative study of Hellenistic cultural perceptions of violence and genocide in antiquity. I also envisage a larger project in the social history of law associated with this research focus, asking how changing views of equity coloured a range of social institutions.

In emotions studies, I am interested in intersections between affect theory, health humanities, and history of emotions, as well as emotions of education in historical perspective.

I joined ACU after studying Mathematical Physics, Classics, Late-Antique Studies and Theology in Melbourne and London and teaching Classics and Medieval Studies at the University of Western Australia (2009–2015). In 2016, I was an Associate Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions. I now lead ACU’s Node of that Research Centre. I am currently developing new initiatives in health humanities and flourishing at ACU. 

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Select publications

Books

  • (2022 forthcoming) Dorotheus of Gaza and Ascetic Education. Oxford Early Christian Studies. (Oxford University Press).
  • (2014) Explaining the Cosmos: Creation and Cultural Interaction in Late-Antique Gaza. (Oxford University Press).

Edited Books

  • (forthcoming) The Intellectual World of Late-Antique Christianity: Reshaping Classical Traditions. Lewis Ayres, Michael Champion, and Matthew Crawford (eds). (Cambridge University Press).
  • (2019)  Before Emotion: The Language of Feeling 400–1800. Juanita Feros Ruys, Michael Champion, and Kirk Essary (eds), (Routledge).
  • (2017) Cultural Perceptions of Violence in the Hellenistic World. Michael Champion and Lara O’Sullivan (eds), (Routledge).
  • (2015) Understanding Emotions in Early Europe. Michael Champion and Andrew Lynch (eds), (Brepols).

Journal Articles

  • (2017) ‘Paideia as Humility and Becoming Godlike in Dorotheos of Gaza’, Journal of Early Christian Studies 25. 3:441–469.
  • (2016) and Garrod, R., Haskell, Y. and Ruys, J. F., ‘But Were They Talking about Emotions? Affectus, affectio and the History of Emotions’, Rivista Storica Italiana 128 :521–543. Commissioned essay for a special thematic issue.
  • (2014) ‘The Siege of Rhodes and the Ethics of War’, Ancient History Bulletin 28.3–4 :99–111.

Chapters

  • (2022 forthcoming) ‘Violence and Genocide in the Hellenistic World’. In Cambridge World History of Genocide, 3 vols, edited by Ben Kiernan, Tracy Lemos, and Tristan Taylor. Volume 1: Genocide in the Ancient, Medieval, and Premodern Worlds. Ben Kiernan and Tristan Taylor (eds). (Cambridge University Press).

  • (2022 forthcoming) ‘Rhetoric, Philosophy, and Transformation in the Thought of Michael Psellos’. In The Neoplatonists and their Heirs: Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. Eva Anagnostou-Laotides and Ken Parry (eds). (Brill).

  • (2020) ‘Philosophy as Transformation in Early Christian Thought’. In Eastern Christianity and Late-Antique Philosophy, Eva Anagnostou-Laotides and Ken Parry (eds), (Brill), 133–149. 

  • (2019) ‘From Affectus to Affect Theory and Back Again’. In Before Emotion: The Language of Feeling 400–1800, Juanita Feros Ruys, Michael Champion, and Kirk Essary (eds), (Routledge) 240–256. 

  • (2019) with Miranda Stanyon, ‘“A Possession for Eternity”: Thomas De Quincey’s Feeling for War’. In Writing War in Britain and France, 1370–1854: A History of Emotions, Stephanie Downes, Katrina O’Loughlin, and Andrew Lynch (eds), (Routledge), 219–237. 

  • (2019) ‘Tradition and Habituation in Rhetorical and Monastic Education at Gaza’. In Learning Cities in Late Antiquity. The Local Dimension of Education, Jan R. Stenger (ed.), ( Routledge), 212–229. 

  • (2017) ‘“A Pleasure to Gaze on Great Conflicts’: Violence and Epicurean Philosophy’. In Cultural Perceptions of Violence in the Hellenistic World, M.W. Champion and Lara O’Sullivan (eds),  (Routledge), 157–173.

  • (2017) ‘Reframing Neoplatonism in Zacharias Scholasticus’ Ammonius’. In L’École de Gaza: Espace littéraire et identité culturelle dans l’Antiquité tardive, edited by Eugenio Amato, Aldo Corcella, and Delphine Lauritzen, 99–116. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 249 / Bibliothèque de Byzantion 13. Leuven, Paris, and Bristol, CT: Peeters.

  • (2017) ‘Translating Dorotheus of Gaza: From Gaza to Humanist Europe’. In Byzantine Culture in Translation, Amelia Brown and Bronwen Neil (eds), ( Brill), 177–191. 

  • (2017) ‘“War is the Father and King of All”: Discourses, Experiences, and Theories of Hellenistic Violence’. In Cultural Perceptions of Violence in the Hellenistic World, edited by M.W. Champion and L. O’Sullivan, (Routledge), 1–20.

  • (2015) ‘Representing Emotions in Three Byzantine Orations of Michael Psellos’. In Understanding Emotions in Early Europe, A. Lynch and M.W. Champion (eds),  (Brepols), 27–50.

  • (2015) ‘Understanding Emotions: “The Things They Left Behind”’. In Understanding Emotions in Early Europe, Michael Champion and Andrew Lynch edited by idem, ix–xxxiv. (Brepols).

  • (2014) ‘“The Academy and the Lyceum are Among Us”: Plato and Platonism in the Writings of Aeneas, Zacharias and Procopius’. In Plato in the Third Sophistic, Ryan Fowler (ed.), Millenium-Studien: Studien zu Kultur und Geschichte des ersten Jahrtausends n. Chr. (De Gruyter), 259–282.

  • (2014) ‘Grief, Body and Soul in Gregory of Nyssa’. In Conjunctions of Mind, Soul and Body from Plato to the Enlightenment, D. Kambaskovic (ed.),History of the Philosophy of Mind Series. (Dordrecht: Springer), 99–118. 

Projects

  

Chief Investigators: Prof. Yasmin Haskell (UWA); Prof. Joe LoBianco (Melbourne); Assoc. Prof. Michael Champion (ACU)

Partner Investigators: Dr Arlene Holmes Henderson (Oxford); Prof. Guoxiang Peng (Zhejiang); Assoc. Prof. Mattia Salvini (International Buddhist College); Dr Antonia Ruppel (Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich).

This project aims to compare, for the first time, ancient language education across world cultures with ‘classical’ literatures. It expects to illumine the purpose and value of classical language education in Chinese, Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit historically and within global education systems today by comparing pedagogic ideals and practices across times and cultures. It aims to test the potential of inclusive classical language learning to boost educational outcomes for disadvantaged students. Other expected outcomes include two books, scholarly articles, education policy reports, and PhD student training. This should strengthen intercultural understanding and benefit school students, educators, policy makers, and the wider public.

Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions

Associate Investigator, 2016

Director, ACU Node, 2019–2022

Emotions shape individual, community and national identities. The Centre’s mission is to provide leadership in worldwide humanities research into how societies have understood, experienced, expressed and performed emotions in pre-modern Europe, and how this long history impacts on contemporary Australia.

Flourishing in Early Christianity

Australian Catholic University Research Fund, 2022–2026

An international five-year project that integrates historical, literary, and theological inquiry into the multi-faceted reality of human flourishing in ancient Christianity. Further information here.

Modes of Knowing and Ordering of Knowledge in Early Christianity

Australian Catholic University Research Fund, 2017–2022

Chief Investigators: Lewis Ayres (Durham/ACU); Michael Champion (ACU); Matthew Crawford (ACU); Jane Heath (Durham); Andrew Radde-Gallwitz (Notre Dame).

This project explored ‘modes of knowing’ constructed by Greek, Latin and Syriac Christians 100-700 CE in relation to contemporary theological, philosophical, medical and rhetorical discourses, social practices (asceticism, pilgrimage, liturgies), imperial and institutional power structures, and the material world of early Christianity (relics, sacred texts). Further information here.

Teaching & Supervision

PhD Supervision

2021—Geetanjali Arora. ‘Reconceptualising Suffering in Physician Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Through Compassion’ (with David Kirchhoffer and Jonathan Zecher).

2019—Thomas Pietsch. ‘Cyril of Alexandria’s Liturgical Exegesis in De Adoratione’ (with Matthew Crawford and Jonathan Zecher).

Dr Jon Simons. ‘Divine Simplicity in the Theology of Irenaeus’ (with Matthew Crawford and Lewis Ayres).

Dr Judith Nichols. ‘Jerome’s Women: Creating Identity and Fashioning Scholars’ (with Neil O’Sullivan, UWA).

Dr Nathan Leber. ‘Portraits of Character: Depictions of Cassius and Brutus in the Correspondence of Cicero’ (with Neil O’Sullivan, UWA).

At UWA, I also supervised projects at MA and Honours level in Classics, early Medieval cultural and intellectual history, and ancient philosophy.

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Coursework

At  ACU, I convene the module ‘Sources, Methods, and Theories in Classics and Ancient History’ for MPhil and PhD students. I have also lectured in early Christian thought.
At UWA, I was awarded faculty and school teaching awards for successful undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and staff supervision across units in Classics and Ancient History (including Greek and Latin literature and language, ancient history and philosophy, and Classical receptions), Medieval Studies, and Communication Skills.

Public Engagement

‘Yield, Old Name’. Review of Ravenna: Capital of Empire, crucible of Europe by Judith Herrin. Allen Lane, 2020. Australian Book Review no. 429. March 2021.

School Visits supporting national curriculum in history and philosophy.

Classical Association of Victoria, Executive Committee (2016–).

Australasian Society for Classical Studies, Publications Manager (2018–2020).

 

ACU Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

Mailing address

C/- 115 Victoria Pde
Fitzroy, VIC, 3065.