Colin Behrens

Visiting Lecturer


Colin Behrens is an late antique historian who specializes in Christian ecclesiastical politics. His dissertation, Orosius of Braga and Ecclesiastical Politics in the Fifth Century CE, offers the first political biography of Orosius. Rather than an overzealous partisan of Augustine and Jerome, Orosius was a skilled ecclesiastical entrepreneur working in partnership with Augustine and Jerome to further the interests of his church in Braga. Colin offers this new evaluation by drawing on the tools provided by political science, which allows him to more precisely analyze how theology and orthodoxy is constructed in ecclesiastical conflicts. Outside of his work on Orosius, Colin has published a paper on the Priscillianist controversy, and is preparing an article using cognitive science to examine how Donatist preaching can be categorized as violent or non-violent depending on the knowledge structures each individual audience member possesses. He is also interested in how Roman emperors intervened in religious controversies, and is currently focused on the reign of Honorius (395-423 CE).

Research Focus

Late Antiquity; Late Antique Spain, North Africa, and Palestine; political science; sermons; uses of martyr relics; concepts of imperial legitimacy; imperial intervention in religious conflicts


"Scale Jumping and Problem Definition in the Priscillianist Controversy." Scale and the Study of Late Antiquity: Proceedings of the 14th Biennial Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity Conference. Edited by Kristina Sessa and Kevin Uhalde. Munera 53. Edipuglia, Bari. 2023.

CLASS Courses - Spring 2024