History Forum Speaker Series

century of miracles

A Century of Miracles: Christians, Pagans, Jews, and the Supernatural, 312-410

H.A. Drake

Emeritus Professor of History

University of California, Santa Barbara

Friday, February 9, 3 p.m.

Dezember Reading Room, Walter W. Stiern Library

A Century of Miracles explores the role miracle stories played in helping Christians, pagans, and Jews think about themselves and each other. These miracle stories helped Christians understand the dizzying changes they experienced in the fourth century and bolstered Christian belief that their god wanted the empire to be Christian. Far more than the outdated narrative of a “life-and-death” struggle between Christians and pagans, miracle stories help us understand the darker turn Christianity took in subsequent ages. Most importantly, they help explain how, after a century of trumpeting the power of their god, Christians were able to deal with their failure to protect the city of Rome from a barbarian sack by the Gothic army of Alaric in 410. Augustine’s magnificent City of God eventually established a new theoretical basis for success, but in the meantime the popularity of miracle stories reassured the faithful--even when the miracles came to an end.

This event is co-sponsored by CSUB’s Department of History, the Walter W. Stiern Library, and the ASI Instructionally Related Acitvities program.


What is History?

As one of the oldest of the liberal arts, the study of history emphasizes the importance of reading widely and deeply in the sources of human civilization and develops in its students the skills of thoughtful analysis of evidence and effective communication.


History is also fun!  Truly understanding the past involves careful investigation and detective work. Reconstructing the past with limited (and often conflicting) evidence is an exciting challenge that often leads to the thrill of discovery.


The Department of History at California State University, Bakersfield offers Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) degrees in History.


The department also offers a program of study leading to a California Teaching Credential in Social Science and a Minor in History.


Please click on the links at left for more information about the History Department at CSUB.




To learn more about why you should study history, click here. You may be surprised at some of the many famous people who studied history in their college days.



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My experiences at CSUB brought me into contact with incredibly thoughtful, sincere, and intelligent graduate students, and I am a better person for knowing them. My CSUB experiences were fantastic, and I have become a great cheerleader for this tremendous university and department. Close Quote
Peter Parra
M.A. in History, 2012

Department of History

California State University, Bakersfield
9001 Stockdale Highway
Bakersfield, CA  93311-1022  


Phone: (661) 654-3079
Fax: (661) 654-6906
Email: jstenehjem@csub.edu
Office: Faculty Towers, 304E  

History Forum Speaker Series, 2017-2018

Spring 2018:

February 9:  Dr. Harold Drake (UC Santa Barbara): "A Century of Miracles: How Life Changed for Christians, Pagans and Jews Between 312 and 410."  Friday, February 9, 3 pm, Dezember Reading Room, Walter Stiern Library


April 13: Dr. Sandra C. Mendiola García, (University of North Texas): "Street Democracy: Vendors, Violence, and Public Space in Late Twentieth-Century Mexico." Friday, April 13, 3 pm, Dezember Reading Room, Walter Stiern Library