early Christian history
Posted by: showtunetrivia 03:05 am EDT 06/16/19
In reply to: re: PHILEMON Cast Recording on CD -- Anybody Ever See It on Stage? - AlanScott 08:57 pm EDT 06/15/19

If I had ever finished my PhD diss back in the early eighties instead of having three kids in five years, it would have been mid-fourth century
Roman history, plus I did minor fields in medieval ecclesiastical history, so I got skillz here. Old, dusty, but skillz. 😄

PHILEMON is set in late third century Antioch, a major center of Christian learning and one of the most important cities in the empire at this time. Diocletian, the emperor who heavily persecuted the Christians, made Antioch his headquarters for part of his reign--and that's also when the show is set.

There was an early Christian named Philemon, but he lived long before the Diocletian persecutions; he was the subject of a Pauline epistle and he did not live in Anitoch.

But what about the comic actor? you cry. There was a clerk or a notary named Genesius of Arles who was a martyr in 303 under the Emperor Maximianus. Somehow, the actual historical clerk from Arles became a legend called Genesius of Rome. This Genesius was a comic actor who specialized in mocking the Christians. He was doing just that, in a performance for the emperor Diocletian (yeah, right), when he suddenly felt a great weight on his chest or a vision or voices, and promptly remouncced his mockery and converted on the spot. Since that was in front of Diocletian, he was beheaded. "Genesius of Rome" is the patron saint of actors, comics, and dancers. This legend (really typical of many martyrologies) has been around since the early Middle Ages at least.

I have not seen the film in question. But the notion of infiltrating a groups under suspicion with a mind to betrayal, only to fall under the sway of the group's philosophy, is a good plot, And applicable in many different eras and situations.

I can throw more useless facts at you in the morning, but Harry's already in bed and I can't get at certain books....

Laura, who still holds an A.B.D. (all but the diss), but is proud to say the baby that interrupted her grad school plans does her PhD....

Previous: Saints alive!! Or not. - showtunetrivia 01:38 pm EDT 06/16/19
Next: re: early Christian history - BroadwayTonyJ 10:56 am EDT 06/16/19

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