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Dr James  Corke-Webster

Dr James Corke-Webster

  • Academics
  • Supervisors

Reader in Classics, History and Liberal Arts

Research subject areas

  • History

Contact details


I am a classicist and historian with particular interests in early Christian and late antique history and literature. I studied Classics and Theology at Oxford, Cambridge, and Manchester, before taking up a Fulbright Scholarship at Berkeley. I then held lectureships at Edinburgh and Durham before moving to Kings in 2017.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Early Christian history and literature
  • Late antiquity
  • Historiography
  • Hagiography
  • Persecution
  • Epistolography

My first monograph, on Eusebius of Caesarea’s Ecclesiastical History, argued that the first narrative of early Christian history used events and individuals from Christianity’s past to create a new vision of Christianity tailored to Eusebius’ fourth century context. I am now working on a new study of the persecution of the early Christians that aims to pioneer a new “bottom up” approach to the reality of Christian experience under Rome.

Side projects include funded research projects on hagiography, with Dr. Christa Gray, and on governance in the Roman world, with Dr. Lisa Eberle.


I teach a range of modules across the Departments of Classics and Liberal Arts, with a focus on Roman history (of the late Republican, early and high imperial, and late antique periods).

I am also the Deputy Director of the Faculty-wide MA in Global Cultures.

Expertise and public engagement

I am a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (2019–), a Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (2016–),was elected to the Council of the Roman Society (2018–2021), am on the editorial board of the journal Studia Theologica, and am the Roman History reviewer for the biannual subject reviews in Greece and Rome.

I have appeared on a number of podcasts, including the HistoryHit podcast (“Episode 9: Rome and the Mediterranean”) and the Audible series Hijacked Histories (“Episode 1: Caligula and Nero”). I regularly speak to students in secondary and tertiary education on a range of topics in Roman and Christian history and literature. I recently organised a series of events covering the A level Classical Civilisation specification, the videos for which can be accessed here.

Selected publications


Eusebius and Empire: Constructing Church and Rome in the Ecclesiastical History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019) [joint winner of the 2018 University of Oxford Faculty of Classics Conington Prize; winner of the 2020 North American Patristics Society First Book Prize; shortlisted for the 2020 Ecclesiastical History Society Best Book Prize].

The Hagiographical Experiment: Developing Discourses of Sainthood. Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae (Leiden, 2020) [co-edited with C. Gray].

Journal Articles

‘Emperors, Bishops, Art and Jurisprudence: The Transformation of Law in Eusebius of Caesarea’, Early Mediaeval Europe 27.1 (2019), 12-34.

‘Trouble in Pontus: The Pliny-Trajan Correspondence on the Christians Reconsidered’ TAPA 147.2 (2017), 371-411.

‘The Early Reception of Pliny the Younger in Tertullian of Carthage and Eusebius of Caesarea’, Classical Quarterly 67.1 (2017), 247-262.

‘A Man for the Times: Jesus and the Abgar Correspondence in Eusebius of Caesarea’s Ecclesiastical History’, Harvard Theological Review 110.4 (2017), 563-587.

‘A Literary Historian: Eusebius of Caesarea and the Martyrs of Lyons and Palestine’, Studia Patristica 66.14 (2013), 191-202.

Book Chapters

‘A Bishop’s Biography: Eusebius of Caesarea’s Life of Constantine’, in K. de Temmerman (ed.) Oxford Handbook of Ancient Biography (Oxford, 2020), 297-312.

‘How to Praise a Christian Emperor: The Panegyrical Experiments of Eusebius of Caesarea’ in A. Omissi & A.J. Ross (eds) Imperial Panegyric from Diocletian to Theodosius (Liverpool, 2020), 143-165.

‘Reading Thecla in Fourth Century Pontus: Violence, Virginity, and Female Autonomy in Gregory of Nyssa's Life of Macrina’, in K. Cooper & J. Wood (eds), The Violence of Small Worlds: Conflict and Social Control in Late Antiquity (Cambridge, 2020), 277-298.

‘Introduction’, in Gray & Corke-Webster, The Hagiographical Experiment, 1-26 [co-written with C. Gray].

‘The First Hagiographies: The Life of Antony, the Life of Pamphilus, and the Nature of Saints’, in Gray & Corke-Webster, The Hagiographical Experiment, 29-62.

‘The Roman Persecutions’ in P. Middleton (ed.) The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Christian Martyrdom (Chichester, 2020), 33-50.

‘Conversion, Conflict, and the Drama of Social Reproduction: Narratives of Filial Resistance in Early Christianity and Modern Britain’, in B. Bøgh (ed.), Conversion and Initiation in Antiquity: Shifting Identities – Creating Change (Frankfurt am Main, 2014), 169-183 [co-authored with K. Cooper].

‘Mothers and Martyrdom: Familial Piety and the Model of the Maccabees in Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History’, in A. Johnson & J. Schott (eds.), Eusebius of Caesarea: Traditions and Innovations (Cambridge, MA., 2013), 51-82.

‘Author and Authority: Literary Representations of Moral Authority in Eusebius of Caesarea’s The Martyrs of Palestine’, in P. Gemeinhardt & J. Leemans (eds), Christian Martyrdom in Late Antiquity: History and Discourse, Tradition and Religious Identity. Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte 116 (Berlin/New York, 2012), 51-78.

Ten entries in E. Orlin et al. (eds.) The Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religions (London, 2015).