Susan Wessel


Dr. Susan Wessel

E-mailwessels@cua.edu
Address620 Michigan Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20064
Phone202-319-5683
Web

Assistant Professor of Church History and Historical Theology, Catholic University of America, School of Religious Studies

B.A., Smith College,
J.D., Harvard University,
M.T.S., Harvard University,
Ph.D., Columbia University,

Susan Wessel (BA, Smith College; JD, MTS, Harvard University; STM, Union Theological Seminary in New York; PhD, Columbia University) is Assistant Professor of Church History and Historical Theology. She was a Mellon Post-Doctoral Teaching and Research Fellow in the Classics Department at Cornell University (2000-1) and a Mary Seeger O’Boyle Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Center for Hellenic Studies at Princeton University (2001-2), where she taught as a Visiting Lecturer (2003).

She is the author of Leo the Great and the Spiritual Rebuilding of a Universal Rome and Cyril of Alexandria and the Nestorian Controversy: The Making of a Saint and of a Heretic.

Leo the Great was a major figure of the late Roman world whose life and work were profoundly interwoven with the political crisis of his day. As the western empire gradually succumbed to the advancing barbarian kingdoms, Leo understood that the papacy needed to expand its authority in order for the church to survive the demise of the political system. Leo the Great and the Spiritual Rebuilding of a Universal Rome argues that his achievement was to transform the church not only in the practical level of administrative organization, but in the more fluid realm of thought and idea. The secular Rome that was crumbling was replaced with a Christian, universal Rome that he fashioned by infusing his theology with humanitarian ideals.

Cyril of Alexandria and the Nestorian Controversy: The Making of a Saint and of a Heretic examines the historical and cultural processes by which Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria, was elevated to canonical status, while his opponent, Nestorius, the bishop of Constantinople, was made into a heretic. The human drama between Cyril and Nestorius gradually gave rise to a religious controversy that unfolded during the next 250 years, producing a lasting schism in the Eastern churches. In contrast to previous scholarship, Cyril of Alexandria concludes that Cyril’s success in being elevated to canonical status was due in part to his strategy in identifying himself with the orthodoxy of the former bishop of Alexandria, Athanasius, in his victory over Arianism, in borrowing Athanasius’ interpretative methods, and in skillfully using the rhetorical tropes and figures of classical antiquity.



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