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Claudia Rapp was raised in West Berlin. She received her undergraduate education in History, Classical Philology and Byzantine Studies at the Freie Universität, and then pursued her graduate studies at Oxford, where she obtained her Ph.D. in 1992. Her dissertation deals with the 5th century Greek Vita of the church father Epiphanius of Salamis (Cyprus) as an example of hagiographical fiction.
Before taking up an Assistant Professorship in Late Antiquity at UCLA in 1994, she was Hutton Assistant Professor at Cornell University, where she taught Byzantine History. In 1997/8, she was a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, where she worked on her current book project on holy bishops in Late Antiquity, which will analyze the historical background and literary treatment of this new type of saint who successfully negotiates the tension between asceticism and the worldly tasks of an ecclesiastical administrator.
Her research focuses on the attitudes in Late Antiquity and Byzantium to the composition and use of hagiographical writing and manuscripts, and on the interrelation between text and audience. Her articles include "Christians and their Manuscripts in the Greek East during the Fourth Century", in Scritture, libri e testi nelle aree provinciali di Bisanzio, ed. G. Cavallo et al., Spoleto 1991; "Byzantine Hagiographers as Antiquarians, 7th to 10th Century", in Bosphorus. Essays in Honour of Cyril Mango, edited by C. Rapp, S. Efthymiadis, D. Tsougarakis, Byzantinische Forschungen 1995; "Figures of Female Sanctity: Byzantine Edifying Manuscripts and their Audience," Dumbarton Oaks Papers 50 (1996), 313-344; "Imperial Ideology in the Making: Eusebius of Caesarea on Constantine as ‘Bishop’" in Journal of Theological Studies, n.s. 49 (1998), 685-695; and "Storytelling as Spiritual Communication in Early Greek Hagiography: The Use of Diegesis", in Journal of Early Christian Studies 6 (1988), 431-448.
Some of her recent research has turned to social networking strategies in the Medieval Greek East: "Ritual Brotherhood in Byzantium", Traditio 52 (1997), 285-326; "‘For Next to God, You are My Salvation’: Reflections on the Rise of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity", in The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Essays on the Contribution of Peter Brown, ed. J. Howard-Johnston, P. A. Hayward, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1999, p. 63-81; and Holy Bishops in Late Antiquity: The Nature of Christian Leadership in a Time of Transition, California University Press (forthcoming in 2005)
In 1999, she was the President of the Byzantine Studies Conference. She is a member of the editorial board of Translated Texts for Historians (Liverpool) and of several learned societies in the U.S.A., Great Britain and Germany.
Within the UC system, she is the Principal Investigator of the Multicampus Research Group in Late Antique History and Culture, which offers opportunities for graduate study. For further information, please see the MRG website.
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