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The association "Patres", formally established on 12 November 2010 on the basis of a group that had been operating since 2001, aims to develop studies on the relationship between ancient cultures and early Christianity. Our objective is to deepen the understanding and the communication of the historical process generated by the encounter between Christianity and the cultures of the first centuries of our age. This encounter was fundamental for the genesis of Western civilization. The fruitfulness of the profound relationship between Greek-Roman thought and Christian proclamation, initially expressed in the Church Fathers regarding faith and reason, founds a living tradition that must be continually revived and that is significant for the understanding of the contemporary world, as attested by the magisterium of Benedict XVI.
Historical methodology, characterized by rigor in examining sources and in determining their contexts, and by an approach to documents that avoids apriori definitions or ideological deductions, qualifies our research commitment. This kind of research, in a passionate and courageous comparison, was shown to us in an exemplary way by Marta Sordi in the years of our common work. This does not mean re-proposing the hypothesis of an absolute objectivity of historical knowledge, however, according to a positivistically understood "scientific" model as an attainable and adequate objective. We believe that the study of history cannot escape the search for meaning, in the relationship between present and past, and necessarily implies the presence of a subject who interrogates the documents by posing the questions that arise from his own experience in the cultural debate in progress, as Henri Irénée Marrou teaches.
We also believe that an understanding of history, free from pre-established ideological schemes and at the same time useful for the present time, can be adequately pursued, in the specificity of individual processes, only in a perspective of integration between different disciplines, with the contribution of scholars not only of the different branches of ancient history but also of linguistics, philology, philosophy and theology, and the history of religions according to the comparative method we learned from U. Bianchi.
We wish to collaborate with anyone who shares, at least in part, this kind of approach to the study of the ancient world. Our proposal is open to the contribution of scholars from various sectors: we are interested not only in specialists on ancient history, but also in collaborating with those who work in the modern sphere, in a multidisciplinary convergence.

We consider it vitally important that the results of specialist research do not remain confined to the academic environment alone, but are as much as possible shared and made "public", in forms appropriate to wider communication, so as to offer a culturally significant contribution to the contemporary debate.
 



Nelle illustrazioni:
Chiesa paleocristiana di S. Hrip'sime (Armenia)
Facciata della chiesa di San Giovanni in Sinis (comune di Cabras, OR)

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