Forgan Smith (building 1), The University of Queensland, St Lucia
Venue: Forgan Smith (building 1), The University of Queensland, St Lucia.

Non-members are welcome. A donation of $10 per person includes entry in the lucky door prize and afternoon tea.

Hypatia of Alexandria: Rational Opponent of Christian Fundamentalism?

Heyworth-Smith Memorial Lecture.

Alejandro Amenábar's 2009 film Agora made a great impact through its portrayal of the philosopher Hypatia as a rational heroine who fell foul of Christian fundamentalism in the late 4th / early 5th Century AD. This interpretation of the real Hypatia is possible rather than inevitable. It seems to derive primarily from a modern tradition of interpretation which seeks to criticise Christianity for being (it is argued) anti-feminine, anti-scientific, and intolerantly anti-pagan. Bishop Cyril and his followers, therefore, supposedly killed Hypatia because she was female, a scientist, and a pagan. The ancient evidence, however, permits other possibilities, especially the thesis that Hypatia was killed for fundamentally political reasons, viz. not for her gender, her scientific interests, or her religious views.