Thomas Heffernan is the Kenneth Curry Professor of the Humanities and Director of the University of Tennessee Humanities Center. His latest book The Passion of Perpetua and Felicity was recently published by Oxford University Press.
Heffernan’s book provides a new English translation of the well-read prison diary of Vibia Perpetua, a young woman of Late Antiquity who was put to death in Carthage with her pregnant slave Felicity when she refused to recant her Christian faith. An account of their heroic martyrdom in 202 or 203 C.E was added to Perpetua’s diary by an anonymous editor. Heffernan’s edition includes a newly-edited version of the only surviving Greek text of this diary and a critical edition of the Latin text based on nine surviving manuscript versions. It also includes extensive historical and textual commentary and an index including every word used in the text.
Scholar Joyce E. Salisbury, one of the book’s reviewers, writes: “This edition, translation, and comprehensive commentary will remain the definitive resource for scholars who study this influential text. Furthermore, Heffernan’s elegant translation perfectly captures the voice of this early Christian woman, whose diary has captivated readers for almost 2000 years.”