The program's special strengths in this area are in the Hebrew Bible, Second Temple Judaism, Judaism and Christianity in Late Antiquity, and Syriac Christianity. Research in these areas are pursued with detailed attention to Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic cultural contexts. Key topics include the formation and interaction of ancient identities, the history of biblical interpretation, apocalyptic and other parabiblical literary production, hagiography, and material culture.
Natalie Dohrmann (Katz Center)
Julia Wilker (Classical Studies)
Cam Grey (Classical Studies)
Kim Bowes (Classical Studies)
Jeremy McInerney (Classical Studies)
Isabel Cranz (NELC)
Simcha Gross (NELC)
Ann Kuttner (Art History)
Ivan Drpic (Art History)
Coursework and research using advanced language skills (esp. Greek, Hebrew, and Syriac) are essential beginning in the first year of study. Before entering the program most applicants have completed at least two years of formal study of their primary language, and by the beginning of the third year, they are expected to have strengths in their secondary ancient languages, as well as to have passed their modern language exams in French and German.
Interdisciplinary investigation is encouraged, and students typically take courses not only in Religious Studies but also in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Classical Studies, the Center for Ancient Studies, and Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World. Theoretical interests can be explored in other departments as well, ranging from Political Science to Art History. Likewise, in the second and third years, students have opportunities to gain teaching experience in multiple religious traditions as TAs within the department and in multiple disciplines as TAs in other departments as well.