Department of Ancient History

Dr Ken Parry

ancient-staff kenparryBA, PhD Manchester

Contact Details:

Telephone: +61 2 9850 7937 
Fax: +61 2 9850 8240
Office: W6A 518


Dr Ken Parry is a Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer in the Department of Ancient History, and member of the Ancient Cultures Research Centre. He studied philosophy, theology and comparative religion at the University of Manchester where he specialised in ancient and medieval philosophy, church history and patristics, and gained his doctorate in Byzantine theology. He was awarded various scholarships by the British Academy , the Greek Ministry of Culture, and the former Yugoslav Ministry of Culture to undertake research in the UK and in the Balkans. He researches and teaches in the areas of Late Antiquity, Byzantine Studies and Silk Road Studies, and is a convenor of the MA in Ancient Art and Architecture. He has travelled extensively in Eastern Europe , Turkey , Central Asia, India and China.

Research interests

The broad swept of Byzantine history from 330 to 1453, but more especially Byzantine cultural and intellectual history, particularly the period from the seventh through to the tenth century. Other areas of research include the interaction between philosophy and theology, Byzantine attitudes towards the classical past, the seven ecumenical councils, Byzantine art and architecture, and the city of Constantinople . My interest in Eastern Christianity focuses on the history and theology of the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox traditions, in their Byzantine, post-Byzantine and contemporary settings. Of particular interest is the early expansion of Eastern Christianity into Asia, particularly so-called 'Nestorian' Christianity in Central Asia, India and China . There are various texts associated with this expansion, as well as inscriptions and iconography from China . This interest in early Christianity in Asia extends to cover the history of trade and religion along the Silk Road, and the interaction of western and eastern religions in Central Asia and China through to the Mongol period.

Current research projects

  • Christian Hermitages from Late Antiquity in the desert regions of Upper Egypt: an historical and comparative archaeological study (ongoing)
  • Manichaean and Nestorian Christian Remains from Quanzhou, South China - ARC Discovery Project under the direction of Prof Sam Lieu was completed and published as a book in the Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum series by Brepols in 2012.
  • City of Constantine : Documents and Monuments - book to emerge from a research project funded by a Macquarie University Flagship Grant.
  • From Idolatry to Iconoclasm: Attitudes to Images in Late Antiquity - monograph focusing on the comparative study of Graeco-Roman, Jewish, Early Christian, Byzantine and early Muslim attitudes towards images and idolatry.
  • Early Christianity in Asia - ongoing research into this topic to result in published monograph.

External appointments and fellowships

  • Macquarie University Staff Exchange Program, Universität Leipzig, seminar papers for the Departments of Classical Studies and Philology, 2014
  • Annual Alexander Böhlig Memorial Lecture, Seminar für Christlichen Orient und Byzanz, Orientalisches Institut, Martin Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg, 2014
  • Visiting Fellow, The Ricci Institute, University of San Francisco, 2007
  • Visiting Fellow, Centre for Early Christian Studies, Australian Catholic University
  • Visiting Lecturer, St Andrew's Greek Orthodoxy Theological College , Sydney

Grants Awarded

  • 2009-11 Macquarie University Research and Development Grant
  • 2008 Staff Grant, Macquarie University .
  • 2006-07 Flagship Grant, Centre for Flexible Learning, Macquarie University .
  • 2006 UNESCO Travelling Research Grant.
  • 2005 Division of Humanities Equipment Fund.
  • 2004-05 Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation Research Scholarship.



  • Medieval Christian and Manichaean Remains from Zayton (Quanzhou), Brepols, 2012 (K. Parry, et al).
  • Painting in Gold: An Exhibition of Ancient and Contemporary Icons, Macquarie University, 2011.
  • Depicting the Word: Byzantine Iconophile Thought of the Eighth and Ninth Centuries. Brill, 1996.

Edited Books

  • The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Patristics. Wiley-Blackwell, 2015.
  • Byzantium and Its Neighbours. Byzantina Australiensia, 2014.
  • Art, Architecture and Religion along the Silk Roads . Brepols, 2008.
  • The Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity. Blackwell, 2007.
  • From Palmyra to Zayton: Epigraphy and Iconography . Brepols, 2005.
  • The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity . Blackwell, 1999.
  • The Church of the East: Life and Thought , special issue of the Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester , vol. 78/3, 1996.


Conference Papers Forthcoming

  • Ken Parry, 'Locating Memory and Imagination: From Nemesius of Emesa to John of Damascus,' paper to be given at the Australian Association for Byzantine Studies conference, Dreams, Memory and Imagination in Byzantium, Monash University, February, 2017.
  • Ken Parry, 'Knocking at the Gate of Paradise: John of Damascus on Philosophy and Scripture', paper to be given at the conference Eastern Christianity and Late Antique Philosophy, Macquarie University, March 2017.
  • Ken Parry, 'Melkites in Central Asia and the Transmission of Paper Use to the West', paper to be given at the ARAM Conference on Melkite Christianity, University of Oxford, July 2017.

Recent Conference Papers

  • Ken Parry, 'Providence, Resurrection, and Restoration in Byzantine Thought, Eighth to Ninth Centuries', invited paper given at the Seventeenth International Conference on Patristic Studies, University of Oxford, 2015
  • Ken Parry, 'Byzantine Intellectual History of the Ninth Century,' University of Vienna, October 2015. Invited lecture to launch the European Research Council funded project 9 SALT, Reassessing Ninth Century Philosophy: A Synchronic Approach to the Logical Traditions.
  • Ken Parry, 'Theodore the Stoudite: the most original iconophile?,' invited paper for the conference Theodore the Stoudite: Intellectual Context, Logic, and Theological Significance, University of Vienna, March 2016.
  • Ken Parry, 'By Land and by Sea: Early Christians in Asia,' invited talk given at the Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore, June 2016, in conjunction with the exhibition Christianity in Asia: Sacred Art and Visual Splendour, May-September 2016.

Forthcoming Publications

  • Ken Parry, 'Theodore the Stoudite and the Stoudious Scriptorium in Ninth-Century Byzantium,' in M. Choat, R. Ast, R. Yuen-Collingridge, J. Lougovaya, and J. Cromwell (eds). Observing the Scribe at Work: Scribal Practice in the Ancient World.  Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta. Leuven: Peeters (forthcoming, 20017).
  • Ken Parry, 'Images in the Church of the East: The Textual and Art Historical Evidence in the Light of Contemporary Practice', International Conference on Jingjiao, The University of Hong Kong, June 10-12, 2015. University of Hong Kong Press (forthcoming, 2017).
  • Ken Parry, 'Fate, Free Choice, and Divine Providence, From the Neoplatonists to John of Damascus', in A. Kaldellis and N. Siniossoglou (eds), The Cambridge Intellectual History of Byzantium. Cambridge University Press (forthcoming, 2017).
  • Ken Parry, 'Providence, Resurrection, and Restoration in Byzantine Thought, Eighth to Ninth Centuries', Studia Patristica (forthcoming, 2017).
  • Ken Parry, 'Theodore the Stoudite: the most original iconophile?,' in C. Erismann and B. MacDougal (eds), Theodore the Stoudite: Intellectual Context, Logic, and Theological Significance. Texts and Studies in Eastern Christianity. Brill (forthcoming, 2017).
  • Ken Parry, 'The theological argument about images in the ninth century', in M Humphreys (ed), The Brill Companion to Byzantine Iconoclasm. Brill (forthcoming, 2019).

Articles and chapters (since 2001)

  • Ken Parry, 'Early Christianity in Central Asia and China', chapter for exhibition catalogue, Christianity in Asia: Sacred Art and Visual Splendour, May-September 2016, Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore, 2016, 26-37.
  • Ken Parry, 'Byzantine-rite Christians (Melkites) in Central Asia and China and their Contacts with the Church of the East', in L. Tang and D. Winkler (eds), Winds of Jingjiao: Studies on Syriac Christianity in China and Central Asia. Vienna: Lit Verlag, 2016, 203-220.
  • Ken Parry, '"What can the Pearl of a King do?" The Idea of Holy Wealth in Byzantium', in A. Hintz and A. Williams (eds), Holy Wealth: Accounting for This World and The Next in Religious Belief and Practice. Festschrift for John R. Hinnells. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2016, 188-202.
  • Ken Parry, 'Reflections on a Silk Fragment from Toyuq: Christian or Manichaean?', Journal of Inner Asian Art and Archaeology 7 (2012) (published 2016), 163-188.
  • Ken Parry, 'The Doves of Antioch: Severus, Chalcedonians, Monothelites, and Iconoclasm', in J. D'Alton and Y. Youssef (eds), Severus of Antioch: Life and Times. Texts and Studies in Eastern Christianity, VII. Leiden: Brill (2016), 138-159.
  • Ken Parry, Review of Vassa Kontouma, John of Damascus: New Studies on his Life and Works. Variorum collected studies series, CS 1053. Farnham: Ashgate, 2015, online Bryn Mawr Classical Review, May 2016.
  • Ken Parry, Review of the exhibition Christianity in Asia: Sacred Art and Visual Splendour, May-September 2016, Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore, TAASA Review (Journal of the Asian Arts Society of Australian) 25, 3 (September 2016).
  • Ken Parry, 'Introduction: The Nature and Scope of Patristics', in K. Parry (ed), The Wily Blackwell Companion to Patristics. Wily Blackwell: Oxford, 2015, 3-11.
  • Chapters on 'Central Asia' and 'India' in W. Tabbernee (ed), in Early Christianity in Contexts: An exploration across cultures and continents. Baker International: Grand Rapids, 2014.
  • 'Egypt in the Byzantine Imagination: Cultural Memory and Historiography, 4th-9th Centuries', in D. Dzino and K. Parry (eds), Byzantium and Its Neighbours. Byzantina Australiensia: Brisbane, 2014.
  • 'Early Christianity in Inner Asia: The Archaeological and Art History Evidence', TAASA Review (The Journal of the Asian Arts Society of Australia) 22.4 (2013), 16-18 with 6 illustrations.
  • 'Aristotle and the Icon: The Use of the Categories by Byzantine Iconophile Writers', in Aristotle's Categories in the Byzantine, Arabic and Latin Traditions, eds. S. Ebbesen, J. Marenbon and P. Thom. Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters: Copenhagen (2013), 35-58.
  • '"Rejoice for Me, O Desert": Fresh light on the remains of Nestorius in Egypt', Studia Patristica LXVIII, vol. 16: From the Fifth Century Onwards (Greek Writers). Peeters: Leuven (2013), 41-49.
  • 'Byzantine-Rite Christians (Melkites) in Central Asia in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages', in Thinking Diversely: Hellenism and the Challenge of Globalisation, ed. E. Kefallino, special edition of Modern Greek Studies, Australia and New Zealand (2012), 91-108.
  • 'Early Christian Remains of Inner Mongolia: A Review Article', Journal of Inner Asian Art and Archaeology 4 (2009) 175-79.
  • 'What to jettison before you go sailing (to Byzantium)', Phronema 24 (2009) 19-33.
  • 'The Buddha as Colossus in Central Asia and China ', in Art, Architecture and Religion along the Silk Road , ed. Ken Parry. Silk Road Studies Series (Brepols: Turnhout 2008) 140-65.
  • 'Reading Proclus Diadochos in Byzantium ,' in Plato's Ancient Readers , eds. H. Tarrant and D. Baltzly. London : Duckworth, (2006), 223-35.
  • 'The Art of the Church of the East in China ', in Jingjiao: The Church of the East in China and Central Asia , eds. R. Malek and P. Hofrichter. Collectanea Serica. Institut Monumenta Serica: Sankt Augustin, (2006) 321-39, with 12 illustations.
  • 'An Unusual Christian Artefact from South China', TAAS Review (The Journal of the Asian Arts Society of Australia ) 15/2 (June 2006), 12-13, with 4 illustrations.
  • 'Vegetarianism in Late Antiquity and Byzantium : The Transmission of a Regimen', in Feast, Fast or Famine: Food and Drink in Byzantium , eds. W. Mayer and S. Trzcionka. Byzantina Australiensia 15. AABS: Brisbane (2005) 171-187.
  • 'The Iconography of the Christian Tombstones from Quanzhou', in From Palmyra to Zayton: Epigraphy and Iconography , eds. S. Lieu, I. Gardner, and K. Parry. Silk Road Studies X. Turnhout: Brepols, (2005) 229-246, with 24 illustrations.
  • 'The Stone Crosses of Kerala in South India ', TAASA Review ( The Journal of the Asian Arts Society of Australia ) 14/2 (June 2005), 10-12, with 7 illustrations.
  • 'Origen and Image-Making', in The Westminster Handbook to Origen , ed. J. McGuckin. Louisville & London : Westminster John Knox Press, (2004) 128-31.
  • 'Byzantine and Melkite iconophiles under iconoclasm,' in Porphyrogenita: Essays in Honour of Julian Chrysostomides , eds. J. Herrin et al. Aldershot : Ashgate, (2003) 137-151.
  • 'Angels and Apsaras: Christian Tombstones from Quanzhou,' TAASA Review ( The Journal of the Asian Arts Society of Australia ) 12/2 (June 2003), 5-7, with 2 illustrations.
  • 'The Ascetical Theology of Maximus the Confessor,' Phronema 17 (2002), 51-57.
  • ' Japan and the Silk Road Legacy,' in Worlds of the Silk Roads Ancient and Modern: Walls and Frontiers in Inner Asian History , eds. S. Lieu and C. Benjamin. Silk Road Studies Series 6. Turnhout: Brepols, (2002) 215-223 with 8 illustrations.
  • 'Crisis in the Balkans: The Byzantine Monuments of Kosovo,' The Eastern Churches Journal 8/3 (2001), 83-90, with 4 illustrations.


  • Curator of Icon Exhibition, Macquarie University Art Gallery, May-June 2011.
  • Curator of photographic exhibition: Byzantine Constantinople , St Andrew's Greek Orthodox Theological College , Sydney, September 2008.
  • Curator of photographic exhibition: The Lotus and the Cross , The Ricci Institute, University of San Francisco, September-October 2007.
  • Curator of photographic exhibition: Constantinople-Istanbul through the Ages , Macquarie University Library, September-October 2006.
  • Curator of photographic exhibition: Stone Crosses of Kerala in South India , Macquarie University Library, November-December 2004.
  • Curator of photographic exhibition: Christian Angels on the South China Coast , Macquarie University Library, March-April 2003.
  • Curator of Icon Exhibition , Macquarie University Library, May-June 2001.


back to top