The Catholic University of America

Faculty Working in the Early Christian or Associated Fields

Faculty Profile of the Month

  

Assistant Professor Aaron Butts

 

 

 

Aaron Michael Butts (PhD University of Chicago, 2013) joined the Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures at The Catholic University of America in the fall of 2014 as Assistant Professor of Semitic Languages and Literatures. His research is focused on the languages, literatures, and history of Christianity in the Near East, especially Syriac as well as Arabic and Ethiopic. At CUA, he teaches classes on Syriac, Arabic, and Classical Ethiopic texts as well as broader history classes covering these traditions. He is the author of Jacob of Sarug’s Homily on the Tower of Babel (2009) as well as a number of articles (most can be downloaded at https://cua.academia.edu/AaronButts). He was also a co-editor with S. P. Brock, G. A. Kiraz, and L. Van Rompay of the Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage (2011). He is currently working on several projects, including 1. (with Simcha Gross), new editions and translations of the Syriac History of ‘Abda damshixa, to be published by Gorgias Press in the series Persian Martyr Acts in Syriac: Text and Translation; 2. (with L. Van Rompay), a catalogue of the Ethiopic collection at Duke University; 3. an edition of the Classical Ethiopic version of the History of Joseph, to be published, with the Syriac (ed. K. Heal), the Arabic (ed. J. Witztum), and Latin (ed. G. Moseley) versions, by Brepols in the series Corpus Christianorum Series Apocryphorum (CCSA).


Prof. Butts’ research on literature and history is grounded in a linguistically-informed reading of texts. His principal methodological approach is that of historical and comparative linguistics, including contact linguistics. At CUA, he teaches a class on Comparative Semitic Grammar. He plans to submit soon an edited volume entitled Studies in Semitic Language Contact, which will be published by Brill in the series Studies in Semitic Languages and Linguistics (SSLL). He is also currently working on a syntax and chrestomathy of Classical Syriac, to be published by Ugarit-Verlag in the series Lehrbücher orientalischer Sprachen (LOS).


In addition to his research mentioned above, Prof. Butts plans to submit very soon a monograph entitled Language Change in the Wake of Empire: Syriac in its Greco-Roman Context (to be published by Eisenbrauns in the series Linguistic Studies in Ancient West Semitic [LSAWS]), which combines his interests in Syriac language and cultural history. This study employs data from the Syriac language to argue that fourth-century authors such as Aphrahat and Ephrem were heirs to an Aramaic culture that had long been in contact with the Greco-Roman world and its Greek language.

Prof. Butts is currently organizing the seventh North American Syriac Symposium, which will be convened at The Catholic University of America on June 21-24, 2015. Held every four years since 1991, the North American Syriac Symposium brings together university professors, graduate students, and scholars from the United States and Canada as well as from Europe, the Middle East, and India, in particular from the State of Kerala. The Symposium offers a unique opportunity for exchange and discussion on a wide variety of topics related to the language, literature, and cultural history of Syriac Christianity, which extends chronologically from the first centuries CE to the present day and geographically from Syriac Christianity’s homeland in the Middle East to South India, China, and the worldwide diaspora. Additional information on the Symposium can be found at http://semitics.cua.edu/north-american-syriac-symposium.cfm.
 

 

The Center's activities are immediately supervised by a Director:

William E. Klingshirn

Ph.D., Stanford University

Professor of Greek and Latin

Late antique history, Roman religion, Christianization, divination

 

The Center houses the Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professor of Early Christian Studies:
 
Philip Rousseau
D.Phil., Oxford University
Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professor
Late antique religion, with emphasis on early Christian asceticism
 
The Center's policies are developed and implemented by an Executive Committee, which includes (in addition to the Director and Mellon Professor) the following (thus covering the remaining sectors of the university with which the Center interacts):
 
Lilla Kopár
Ph.D., University of Szeged, Hungary
Director, Center for Medieval and Byzantine Studies (ex officio); Associate Professor, Department of English
Medieval literature and sculpture
 
Jennifer Davis
Ph.D., Harvard University
Assistant Professor, Department of History; Associate Director, Center for Medieval and Byzantine Studies
Early medieval history
 
Sarah Brown Ferrario
Ph.D., Princeton University
Assistant Professor and Chair, Department of Greek and Latin
Fifth and fourth centuries BC Greek history and literature
 
Nora M. Heimann
Ph.D., City University of New York.
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Art
European and American modern and contemporary art history
 
Caroline Sherman
Ph.D., Princeton University
Assistant Professor, Department of History
Early modern French and intellectual history
 
Janet Timbie
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Semitic Languages and Literatures; Associate Director
Coptic language and literature
 
Matthias Vorwerk
Ph.D., University of Münster
Associate Dean, School of Philosophy
Ancient Philosophy, Plato, Plotinus, Neoplatonism
 
Susan Wessel
Ph.D., Columbia University
Associate Professor of Church History and Historical Theology, Area Director of Church History, School of Theology and Religious Studies
Greek and Latin Patristics
 
The Center's policies are further enhanced with the help of a Faculty Advisory Board, which includes all those who teach and pursue research in the early Christian or related fields, or whose wider responsibilities bring them into frequent contact with the Center's activities:
 
Rev. Regis Armstrong, O.F.M. (Cap.)
Ph.D., Fordham University
John C. and Gertrude P. Hubbard Professor of Religious Studies, Area Director of Spirituality, School of Theology and Religious Studies
Early Franciscan History and Spirituality
 
Monica Blanchard
Ph.D., The Catholic University of America
Curator, Semitics/ICOR Libraries
Languages and literatures of the Christian Near East, orientalist librarianship
 
Aaron M. Butts
Ph.D., University of Chicago
Assistant Professor, Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures
Aramaic (including Syriac) and Classical Ethiopic, Christian Arabic
 
Dr. Theol., Innsbruck
Professor of Systematic Theology, School of Theology and Religious Studies
Christology, Ecclesiology
 
Rev. Sidney H. Griffith, S.T.
Ph.D., The Catholic University of America
Emeritus Professor, Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures
Syriac, Christian Arabic
 
Andrew D. Gross
Ph.D., New York University
Assistant Professor, Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literature
Rabbinic Studies
 
Rev. John Paul Heil
S.S.D., Pontifical Biblical Institute
New Testament
 
Katherine L. Jansen
Ph.D., Princeton University
Associate Professor, Department of History
Medieval Italy, medieval women and gender, religious and cultural history
 
William P. Loewe
Ph.D., Marquette University
Associate Professor, School of Theology and Religious Studies
Systematic and Fundamental Theology, especially Christology and Soteriology
 
Frank A. C. Mantello
Ph.D., University of Toronto
Professor, Department of Greek and Latin
Latin Patristics, Latin paleography, textual criticism
 
William J. McCarthy
Ph.D., The Catholic University of America
Associate Professor, Department of Greek and Latin
Greek and Latin Patristics
 
Rev. Mark Morozowich, S.E.O.D.
Doctorate in Eastern Christian Studies, Pontifical Oriental Institute
Dean, School of Theology and Religious Studies
Liturgy
 
Kenneth Pennington
Ph.D., Cornell University
Kelly-Quinn Professor of Ecclesiastical and Legal History
Columbus School of Law and School of Theology and Religious Studies
Canon law

John F. Petruccione
Ph.D., University of Michigan
Department of Greek and Latin
Greek and Latin Patristics, early Christian poetry and hagiography
 
Rev. Dominic Serra
S.L.D., Pontifical Institute of Liturgy, Sant'Anselmo, Rome
Associate Professor, Area Director of Liturgical Studies and Sacramental Theology, School of Theology and Religious Studies
Sacraments of Christian Initiation
 
Tarmo Toom
Ph.D., The Catholic University of America
Associate Professor of Latin Patristics, School of Theology and Religious Studies
Latin Patristics