Procopius did not write a Christian history; yet we have seen more than enough by now to realise that for all its suprastructure of classicising scepticismmanifested, if only superficially, in all three works-the underlying approach of Procopius’ writing is thoroughly Christian, and recognisably late antique in type. The older view of Procopius as a ‘sceptic’, based in general on a misunderstanding of his habit of stylistic affectation, can no longer convince.1
Nor should we try to save Procopius from himself by attempting to harmonise the apparent inconsistencies in his religious statements. We can admit now that all his works rest on similar basic assumptions about the reality of divine providence, the polarity of good and evil, the special relation of the emperor to the supernatural, the possibility of the miraculous. Further, we can see that for all his élitism and high culture, Procopius’ religious position is not so very far from that of his contemporaries. Thus dislodged from the pedestal of his supposed rationalism he seems less impressive, perhaps, but also more interesting. It still remains to look more closely at this aspect of his work and to see whether it is possible to approach it in a less prejudiced manner-to see, in fact, whether we can uncover the basic assumptions which pervade his writing and his thought, the categories within which he operates, and the ways in which he diverges from contemporary religious expression. The three works present a unified system of religious discourse which is crucial to our understanding of Procopius as a historian, since it is within these terms that his historical thinking operates, as much in the Wars as in the shorter works.