Toni entered the Religion department in 2015. His research spans religious studies, ethics, law, philosophy, political theory, theology, and Late Antique culture. His dissertation, Slaves of God, uses Augustine’s account of slavery to interpret his conceptions of citizenship, law and religion. It situates Augustine in a tradition of Roman philosophizing about slavery as a political, ethical, and religious concept. Three figures in this tradition that are crucial for Augustine are Cicero, Seneca, and Lactantius. It further argues that Augustine’s conceptions of religio and vera religio help us coordinate his commitments on slavery, law, and citizenship. Thus, the project has implications for the history of ethics, politics, and religion. It helps us better grasp Augustine’s legacy with respect to the history of slavery, his place in the republican political tradition, and his role in the development of early Christian understandings of religio.
Other recent research topics include: 1) the genealogy connecting the contemporary American imprisonment system and the Roman conception of servi poenae, penal slaves; 2) which
understandings of political sovereignty and freedom are licensed, entailed, and excluded by divine command theory; 3) whether a just civil religion is possible in a contemporary liberal society, and if so, what it might look like; 4) non-coercive visions of law, and the conceptions of citizenship they presume; 5) the prospects for realism about aesthetic judgments.
Before starting doctoral work, Toni received the M.A.R. in Ethics from Yale Divinity School and the A.B. in Religion from Princeton University.