Horace Means

Associate Professor in Church History

Teaching and Research
Horace’s teaching and research interests include using hybridity and other Postcolonial categories for studying early Christianity; Christianity, culture, and the Constitution in US History; early Christian pneumatology; and using film and other forms of popular culture as teaching tools.
BA, University of Pennsylvania

M.Div., a Th.M., and a Ph.D. in the History of Christianity, Princeton Theological Seminary

Augustine and Catholic Christianization: The Catholicization of Roman Africa, 391-408. (New York: Peter Lang, 2011).
A religious reformation occurred in the Roman Empire of the fourth and fifth centuries which scholars often call Christianization. Examining evidence relevant to Roman Africa of this period, this book sharpens understanding of this religious revolution. Focusing on the activities of Augustine and his colleagues from Augustines ordination as a priest in 391, to the fall of the Emperor Honorius master of soldiers, Stilicho, in 408, it proposes Catholicization as a term to more precisely characterize the process of change observed. Augustine and Catholic Christianization argues that at the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth century Augustine emerged as the key manager in the campaign to Catholicize Roman Africa by virtue of a comprehensive strategy to persuade or suppress rivals, which notably included Donatists, Arians, Manichees, and various kinds of polytheism. Select sermons from 403 and 404 reveal that Augustine’s rhetoric was multivalent. It addressed the populus and the elite, Christians and non-Christians, Catholics, and Donatists. Key sources examined are selected laws of the Theodosian Code, the Canons of the African Council of Catholic Bishops, Augustines Dolbeau sermons (discovered in 1990), Contra Cresconium, as well as other sermons, letters, and treatises of Augustine. This book clarifies our perception of Augustine and Christianity in the socio-religious landscape of Late Roman Africa in at least three ways. First, it combines theological investigation of the sources and development of Augustines ecclesiology with sociohistorical tracing of the process of Catholicization. Second, an account of the evolution of Augustines self-understanding as a bishop is given along with the development of his strategy for Catholicization. Third, Augustine is identified as resembling modern political spin-doctors in that he was a brilliant spokesperson, but he did not work alone; he was a team player. In brief, Augustine influenced and was influenced by his fellow bishops within Catholic circles.

“Bishops, Early and Mediaeval” in the New Westminster Dictionary of Church History.
Jerald Bauer’s Westminster Dictionary of Church History was originally published in 1969 and has ably served an entire generation of pastors, students, and scholars over the last decades of the twentieth century. In recognition of both the dictionary’s age and the latest developments in patristics and other fields of study, Westminster John Knox Press commissioned this volume to continue in the previous work’s tradition by providing up-to-date and immediate, authoritative, and introductory definitions and explanations of the major personalities, events, facts, and movements in the history of Christianity.

Volume One covers the early, medieval, and Reformation periods and contains nearly fourteen hundred articles written by more than two hundred contributors. Volume Two will cover the modern period, from 1700 on.

“Saints and Teachers: The Canon of Persons” in Canonical Theism: A Proposal for Theology and the Church.
Canonical Theism is a post-Protestant vision for the renewal of both theology and church. The editors call for the retrieval and redeployment of the full range of materials, persons, and practices that make up the canonical heritage of the church, including scripture, doctrine, sacred image, saints, sacraments, and more. The central thesis of the work is that the good and life-giving Holy Spirit has equipped the church with not only a canon of scripture but also with a rich canonical heritage of materials, persons, and practices. However, much of the latter has been ignored or cast aside. This unplumbed resource of canonical heritage waits for the church to rediscover its wealth. With a bold set of thirty theses, the authors chart and defend that mine of opportunity. They then invite the entire church to explore the benefits of their discoveries. This ambitious book offers insights to be integrated into the church body, renewing the faith that nourished converts, created saints, and upheld martyrs across the years.