Joe Rosenthal Excellence Professor, Department of Religious Studies
Program Faculty, Women's and Gender Studies
Ph.D. Religion, Princeton University 1991
Office Hours: Mondays 3:30-4:30 and by appointment
Areas of Academic Interest:
- Religion in Late Antiquity
- Early Christianity
- Byzantine Studies
- Gender Studies
As a historian of Christian culture in Late Antiquity and Byzantium, I have posed a variety of questions about the practice of Christianity in the pre-modern Eastern Mediterranean. I’ve written about saints’ lives as a literary genre, about monasticism, the everyday religion of lay Christians, and the reception of the Bible. I recently completed a book entitled Liturgical Subjects: Christian Ritual, Biblical Narrative, and the Formation of the Self in Byzantium, which examines hymns, sermons, and personal devotional objects (like reliquaries, icons, and pendant crosses) to explore how ideal models for the Christian self and patterns of the conscience were mediated to Eastern Orthodox Christians in the Middle Ages. Now I am working concurrently on two projects. The first explores how the culture of monasticism in Byzantium produced ideas about masculinity, gender, sexuality, and friendship. The second explores the use of biblical quotations in Byzantine saints’ lives to assess how Christians received and understood their Bible.
- Symeon the Holy Fool: Leontius's Life and the Late Antique City (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996).
- Writing and Holiness: The Practice of Authorship in the Early Christian East (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004).
- Byzantine Christianity, edited by Derek Krueger. A People's History of Christianity 3 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006).
- Liturgical Subjects: Christian Ritual, Biblical Narrative, and the Formation of the Self in Byzantium(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, October 2014).
- “Authorial Voice and Self-Presentation in a Ninth-Century Hymn on the Prodigal Son.” In The Author in Middle Byzantine Literature: Modes, Functions, and Identities, edited by Aglae Pizzone. Byzantinisches Archiv. Berlin: DeGruyter, forthcoming 2014.
- “The Great Kanon of Andrew of Crete, the Penitential Bible, and the Liturgical Formation of the Self in the Byzantine Dark Age.” In Between Personal and Institutional Religion: Self, Doctrine, and Practice in Late Antique Eastern Christianity, edited by Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony and Lorenzo Perrone. Cultural Encounters in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages 15. Turnhout: Brepols, 2013, 57-95.
- “The Internal Lives of Biblical Figures in the Hymns of Romanos the Melodist,”Adamantius 19 (2013): 290-302.
- “Mary at the Threshold: The Mother of God as Guardian in Seventh-Century Palestinian Miracle Accounts.” In The Cult of the Mother of God in Byzantium. Edited by Leslie Brubaker and Mary Cunningham. Farnham: Ashgate, 2011, 31-38.
- "Between Monks: Tales of Monastic Companionship in Early Byzantium," Journal of the History of Sexuality 20 (2011): 28-61.
- “The Religion of Relics in Late Antiquity and Byzantium,” in Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe, ed. Martina Bagnoli, Holger A. Klein, C. Griffith Mann and James Robinson [exhibition catalogue]. Baltimore: Walters Art Museum, 2010, 5-17.
- “The Liturgical Creation of a Christian Past: Identity and Community in Anaphoral Prayers,” in Unclassical Traditions: Alternatives to the Classical Past in Late Antiquity, ed. Richard Flower, Christopher Kelly, and Michael Stuart Williams, Cambridge Classical Journal Supplementary Volume 35. Cambridge: Cambridge Philological Society, 2010, 58-71.
- "Early Byzantine Historiography and Hagiography as Different Modes of Christian Practice.” In Writing "True Stories": Historians and Hagiographers in the Late Antique and Mediaeval Near East, edited by Arietta Papaconstantinou, with Muriel Debié and Hugh Kennedy, Cultural Encounters in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages 9. Turnhout: Brepols, 2010, 13-20.
- "Healing and the Scope of Religion in Byzantium: A Response to Miller and Crislip." In Healing in Byzantium. Edited by John Chirban with an introduction by Jaroslav Pelikan. Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2010, 119-130.
- “The Old Testament in Monasticism,” in The Old Testament in Byzantium, ed. Paul Magdalino and Robert Nelson. Washington: Dumbarton Oaks, 2010, 199-221.
- “The Unbounded Body in the Age of Liturgical Reproduction,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 17 (2009): 267-279.
- "Romanos the Melodist and the Christian Self in Early Byzantium," Proceedings of the 21st International Congress of Byzantine Studies, London, 2006, vol. I, Plenary Papers. Edited by Elizabeth Jeffreys. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006, 247-266.
- “Homoerotic Spectacle and the Monastic Body in Symeon the New Theologian,” in Toward a Theology of Eros: Transfiguring Passion at the Limits of Discipline, edited by Virginia Burrus and Catherine Keller (New York: Fordham University Press, 2006), 99-118
Work in progress:
Monastic Desires: Homoeroticism in Byzantine Ascetic Literature
“Scripture and Liturgy in the Life of Mary of Egypt”
“The Hagiographers’ Bible”
Recent Courses Taught:
- Rel 104: Religion, Ritual, and the Arts
- Rel 204: New Testament and the Origins of Christianity
- Rel 210: Christianity to the Reformation
- Rel 301: Early Christianity
- Rel 303: The Practice of Christianity in Byzantium (500-1200)
- Rel 310: Christianity and the Construction of Gender (Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern)
- Rel 311: Jewish and Christian Biblical Interpretation (with Prof. Ellen Haskell)
- Rel 314/Art 301: Saints and Relics: Art and Devotion in the Middle Ages (with Prof. Heather Holian)
- Rel 323: The Christian Monastic Tradition
- Rel 503: Religion, Gender, and Culture (Critical Gender Theory and Religion)