Reyhan Durmaz

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies


Cohen Hall 230

Reyhan Durmaz's research interests include Syriac Christianity, religion and society in late antiquity, hagiography, and Christian-Muslim relations in the Middle Ages. Her first monograph, tentatively titled Beyond Hagiography: Stories between Christianity and Islam in the Middle Ages (under contract at the University of California Press), examines the transmission of non-biblical saints' stories and cults from Christianity to Islam. Her other research projects include study of rural Christianities in the Middle Ages in the eastern Mediterranean, and religious skepticism in the medieval Middle East. Dr. Durmaz received her PhD from Brown University (2019), with a Joukowsky Outstanding Dissertation Award in Humanities. She was a Junior Fellow in Byzantine Studies at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection (AY 2018-19). Her research has also been supported by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. 

Dr. Durmaz currently serves as the co-chair of the Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins, and is a Penn Faculty Fellow at the Wolf Humanities Center's Forum on Migration (AY 2021-22). She is affiliated with the Ancient History Graduate Group and the Middle East Center at Penn, and is a member of the American Academy of Religion, Society of Biblical Literature, North American Patristics Society, and the Middle East Studies Association.


Office Hours
Wed. 10am-12pm, Cohen Hall 230

Ph.D., Brown University (2019)
M.A., Central European University (2012)
M.A., Koc University (2010)
B.A., Middle East Technical University (2007)

Research Interests

Syriac Studies
Byzantine Studies
Christian-Muslim Relations

Research Areas
Ancient Mediterranean Religions
Material and Visual Culture
Courses Taught
Undergraduate Courses:

RELS 002: Religions of the West

RELS 105: Virtual Religion: Religion in the Digital Age

RELS 144: From Jesus to Muhammad: History of Early Christianity

RELS 215: Satan: History, Poetics, and Politics of the Archenemy

RELS 235: Eastern Christianities


Graduate Courses:

RELS 515: Syriac Christianity Past and Present

RELS 608: Worlds of Late Antiquity

Selected Publications

Five hundred bones from Constantinople: Monks, manuscripts, and memory at the eastern borders of Byzantium. Harvard Theological Review (forthcoming).

“Patronage and prestige in the countryside: The case of the Church of Mār Domeṭ in northern Mesopotamia.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 80, no.1 (2021): 101–22.

“Saints, stories and sanctity between Christianity and Islam: The conversion of Najrān to Christianity in the Sīra of Muḥammad.” In Syriac Christian Culture: Beginnings to Renaissance. Edited by Aaron Butts and Robin Darling Young, 174–97. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2021.

“Hearing sanctity: Oral performance and aural consumption of hagiographical stories in the late antique and medieval Syriac milieu.” In Syriac Hagiography: Texts and Beyond. Edited by Flavia Ruani and Sergey Minov, 56–88. Brill, 2021.


American Academy of Religion

Byzantine Studies Association of North America

Society of Biblical Literature

North American Patristics Society

Middle East Studies Association


CV (file)