The Catholic University of America

Our Visiting Scholars, 2013-2014


Rebecca Rine
Rebecca Rine is an Adjunct Professor of Religion at George Mason University, where she draws on her study of ancient and modern literary cultures to teach Religion and Literature.  Dr Rine earned a master’s degree in English with an emphasis on Applied Linguistics at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte (2003), and in 2012 she completed her doctorate in Religious Studies at the University of Virginia.  Her dissertation, The Song of Songs as Scripture and Script:  Performance, Pedagogy, Patristics,  examines patristic quotation of the Song of Songs in light of performative theories of language and ancient pedagogical practice.  Prior to her appointment at George Mason University, Dr Rine taught English and Religious Studies courses at several institutions; she has also worked extensively in academic and religious publishing, specializing in book culture, literary theory, and the role of publishing in religious education and ministry. She has a book under contract with the University Press of America, From Preaching to Writing: A Manual for Doctor of Ministry Candidates.  Her current research addresses the interplay of ancient and modern conceptions of scripture, scriptural quotation, and biblical commentary.

Scott Johnson 

Scott Johnson received his D.Phil. in Classics from the University of Oxford in 2005. He is currently a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Byzantine Greek at Georgetown University and Dumbarton Oaks. He has been a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows (2004–07), a Fellow in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks (2009–10), and a Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress (2010–11). He is currently finishing a book entitled Writing in Place: Geography and Archive in Late Antique Literature and has a book forthcoming with Ashgate on multilingualism in eastern Christianity.  He is the author of The Life and Miracles of Thekla: A Literary Study (Center for Hellenic Studies & Harvard University Press, 2006) as well as of numerous articles, including ones in Dumbarton Oaks Papers 64 (2010) and the Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity (2012), of which he was editor. He also edited the volume Greek Literature in Late Antiquity: Dynamism, Didacticism, Classicism (Ashgate, 2006), and his translation of the fifth-century Miracles of Thekla appeared as part of a volume entitled Miracle Tales from Byzantium (with Alice-Mary Talbot) in the new Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library (Harvard University Press, 2012).  He has most recently published a small study with text and translation of Jacob of Sarug's homily on the sinful woman (Gorgias Press, 2013).

Wendy E. Mayer

Wendy Mayer, formerly Deputy Director of the Centre for Early Christian Studies at the Australian Catholic University, is now an Honorary Research Fellow there.  She has also been a Queen Elizabeth II Research Fellow and a Research Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks.  Now resident in the Washington DC area, she is a regular visitor to our Center.  She is currently co-editing with Professor Rousseau a volume of essays entitled Change in the Late Roman City: Identities, Buildings, and Beliefs, which explores the extent to which "city life" worked as an engine of change at a time when established orders were either threatened or challenged.

She received her doctorate from the University of Queensland.  Author of the major 2005 monograph The Homilies of John Chrysostom: Provenance (with a second volume to come), co-author or editor of eight other books, author of more than 50 papers, and recipient (sometimes jointly) of research grants totalling more than 1 million Australian dollars, she is now recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on the life and writings of John Chrysostom.  In addition to her John Chrysostom: The Deconstruction of a Saint, her most important forthcoming work is probably that devoted to John's correspondence, to appear in P. Allen and B. Neil (eds), Epistolary Conversations.  Other recent publications include "Mania and Madness in the Works of John Chrysostom," in H. Perdicoyianni-Paleologou (ed.), The Concept of Madness from Homer to Byzantium (Amsterdam: Hakkert, forthcoming), reflecting her growing interest in the relation between Greek medical science and ethical theory (with an article still in progress, "John Chrysostom on the Biology of Madness and the Pathology of Sin").

Some Previous Visitors

Georgia Frank
Georgia Frank is Professor of Religion at Colgate University In Hamilton, NY.  She received her BA from Barnard College, an MTS from Columbia, and her PhD from Harvard.  She has also taught at Holy Cross College.  Long interested in the late Roman religious imagination and its relations to the material world - to bodies, places, and images - she produced a provoking and influential study in 2000, The Memory of the Eyes: Pilgrims to Living Saints in Christian Late Antiquity.  She has turned her attention more recently to the imaginative effect of homily in the late Roman city, working currently on a book on Romanos the Melodos, the sixth-century Constantinopolitan preacher and composer.  She has received numerous fellowships from such sources as the NEH, the ACLS, the AAUW and the Mellon Foundation, including a summer fellowship at the American Academy in Rome.
Her recent publications include:
“Telling Jerusalem: Miracles and the Moveable Past in Late Antique Christianity,” in Hallie Meredith (ed.), Objects in Motion: The Circulation of Religion and Sacred Objects in the Late Antique and Byzantine World (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2011): 49-54.
“Death in the Flesh: Picturing Death’s Body and Abode in Late Antiquity,” in Colum Hourihane (ed.), Looking Beyond: Visions, Dreams and Insights in Medieval Art and History (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2010); 58-74.
“Christ's Descent to the Underworld in Ancient Ritual and Legend,” in Robert Daly (ed.), Apocalyptic Thought in Early Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009): 211-26.
"L'eucharistie et la mémoire sensorielle selon Jean Chrysostome," in Nicole Bériou, Béatrice Caseau, and Dominique Rigaux (eds), Pratiques de l’eucharistie dans les Églises d’Orient et d’Occident (Antiquité et Moyen Âge) (Paris: Institut d’Études Augustiniennes, 2009): \765-78.


Robert Wisniewski

Robert Wisniewski teaches at the Institute of History at the University of Warsaw, where he gained his Ph.D. in 2002 with a thesis entitled “Satan and his Servants: the Devil and Demons in Early Latin Hagiography.” He has held fellowships in Paris (a Batory Foundation Fellowship at the Sorbonne’s Centre Lenain de Tillemont and a Foundation for Polish Science Fellowship at the Centre d'Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance at the Collège de France) and at the Augustinianum in Rome (a Lanckoronski Foundation Fellowship). He returned to Paris in 2009 as Directeur d’Études Invité at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, and was in the following year a Visiting Fellow at Trinity College, Oxford, an appointment that led to a funded partnership with Dr Bryan Ward-Perkins in the project “The cult of saints in Late Antiquity”.
Recent papers of significance include:
“Lucilla and the Bone: Remarks on an Early Testimony to the Cult of Relics,” Journal of Late Antiquity 4 (2011): 157-61.
Si fama non fallit fidem: Les Druides dans la littérature latine de l’antiquité tardive,” Antiquité Tardive 17 (2009): 307-15.
“Deep Woods and Vain Oracles: Druids, Pomponius Mela and Tacitus,” Palamedes 2 (2007): 143-56.
“La Consultation des possédés dans l’Antiquité tardive: pythones, engastrimythoi, arrepticii,” Revue d’études augustiniennes et patristiques 51 (2005): 127-52.
“Suspended in the Air: On a Peculiar Case of Exorcism in Late Ancient Christian Literature,” in Tomasz Derda, Jakub Urbanik, and Marek W?cowski (eds), Euergesias Charin: Studies Presented to Benedetto Bravo and Ewa Wipszycka (Warsaw 2002), pp. 363-80.
Bestiae Christum loquuntur ou des habitants du désert et de la ville dans la Vita Pauli de saint Jérôme,” Augustinianum 40 (2000): 105-44.
Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe
Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe is Senior Lecturer in Roman History in the Department of Classics at King’s College, London. She gained a degree in history at Oxford University in 1998 and completed her doctorate at Cambridge University in 2004. Before going to King’s in 2007, she had held a Leverhulme Studentship in Rome (2001-2), a Research Fellowship at Peterhouse, Cambridge (2002-4), and a College Lectureship in History at the same college (2004-6), followed by a Fellowship at the Italian Academy at Columbia University (2006).
She published a monograph in 2007, Ambrosiaster’s Political Theology (Oxford University Press).  Other recent publications of significance include:
“Ambrose's Imperial Funeral Sermons,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 59 (2008).
“Ambrosiaster Revising Ambrosiaster: Introduction,” Recherches Augustiniennes 56 (2010).
“Bishops on the Chair of Pestilence: Ambrosiaster's Polemical Exegesis of Psalm 1.1,” Journal of Early Christian Studies, 19 (2011).
Ellen Muehlberger
Ellen Muehlberger is Assistant Professor in the Departments of History and of Near Eastern Studies in the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Having graduated in Comparative Religion and Biomedical Sciences at Western Michigan University in 1995, she completed her graduate degrees in Religious Studies at Indiana University in Bloomington, gaining her doctorate there in 2008. While a doctoral student, she served as Editorial Assistant on the Journal of Early Christian Studies.
Dr Muehlberger has been an energetic researcher and speaker, addressing a wide range of topics and using a wide range of ancient languages: on major figures of the Patristic period – Gregory of Nyssa, Chrysostom, Jerome, Augustine, Ephrem, and Theodoret; on Antony, Evagrius, Shenoute, and asceticism generally; and on other topics that include Christianity and Judaism, community formation, priesthood, heresy, death, and angels and demons.
Her book Angels in Late Ancient Christianity has just appeared from Oxford University Press; and she has a paper forthcoming, “Knowing Angels,” in Catherine Chin and Moulie Vidas (eds), Late Ancient Knowing: A New Doxography, to be published by the University of California Press.  Other published papers of significance include:
“Salvage: Macrina and the Christian Project of Cultural Reclamation,” Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture 81(2012): 273-97.
“Negotiations with Death: Ephrem’s Control of Death in Dialogue,” in David Brakke, Deborah Deliyannis, and Ed Watts (eds), Shifting Frontiers VIII: Shifting Cultural Frontiers in Late Antiquity (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 23-34.
“Preserving the Divine: α?το- Prefixed Generative Terms and the Untitled Treatise in the Bruce Codex,” Vigiliae Christianae 65 (2011): 311-28.
“Ambivalence about the Angelic Life: The Promise and Perils of an Early Christian Discourse of Asceticism,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 16 (2008): 447-78.
“The Representation of Theatricality in Philo’s Embassy to Gaius,” Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Periods 39 (2008): 46-67.
Laura Nasrallah
Laura Nasrallah is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School. After graduating from Princeton, she completed a master’s degree and a doctorate in divinity at Harvard. She combines her New Testament scholarship with keen attention to both early Christian literature and Mediterranean archaeology.
She has published two major monographs: “An Ecstasy of Folly”: Prophecy and Authority in Early Christianity (Harvard, 2003), which sets out from a study of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians to explore second-century and third-century attitudes to prophecy and to the nature of the human soul; and Christian Responses to Roman Art and Architecture: The Second-Century Church Amid the Spaces of Empire (Cambridge, 2010; now in paperback), which argues that early Christian literature addressed to Greeks and Romans has to be set alongside the surviving sculpture and monumental architecture of the Hellenistic and Roman élite, which expressed and defended traditional understandings of justice, piety, and the image of the divine.
She also collaborated with Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza in editing Prejudice and Christian Beginnings: Investigating Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in Early Christian Studies (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2009; now in paperback).
Significant recent papers include (with Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre), “Beyond the Heroic Paul: Toward a Feminist and Decolonizing Approach to the Letters of Paul,” in Christopher Stanley (ed.), The Colonized Apostle: Paul through Postcolonial Eyes (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2011), pp. 161-74; and “The Earthen Human, the Breathing Statue: The Sculptor God, Greco-Roman Statuary, and Clement of Alexandria,” in Konrad Schmid and Christoph Riedweg (eds), Beyond Eden: The Biblical Story of Paradise [Genesis 2-3] and Its Reception History (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008), pp. 110-40.

AnneMarie Luijendijk

After specialist work on the New Testament at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, AnneMarie Luijendijk completed her doctorate at The Harvard Divinity School in 2005. She joined the Princeton faculty in 2006. Having won an American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women for the 2008-2009 academic year, she was appointed Melancthon W. Jacobus University Preceptor in Religion (2009-2012).  She is now an Associate-Professor in the Department of Religion.

Her chief interest as a papyrologist is in the social history of early Christianity, using both literary texts and documentary sources. Her book Greetings in the Lord: Early Christians and the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (Harvard University Press, 2008) is the first book-length study of Christians in the ancient Egyptian city, where some of the most important and oldest fragments of early Christian books have been unearthed. Dr Luijendijk describes the different contexts and circumstances of Christian life. Creating an image of the city's marketplace, she first addresses questions of Christian identity in the public sphere. Then the focus shifts to Sotas, bishop of Oxyrhynchus in the third century, busy networking with other Christian communities through teaching, book production, and fund-raising. The third part is concerned with the evidence of persecution and the far-reaching power and pervasiveness of Roman bureaucracy. Christians in the city were forced to negotiate their identity by small acts of resistance. We are reminded overall how much our understanding of Christian life in the period rests on the mundane aspects of everyday life, which make papyri so fascinating.

Dr Luijendijk is awaiting the publication of her second monograph, Forbidden Oracles? The Gospel of the Lots of Mary, due to appear from Mohr Siebeck (Tübingen) in 2013. The book studies a Coptic oracular manuscript (dated to the fifth or sixth century) within the larger context of early Christian sortilege.  Another project under way concerns Christian manuscripts more generally, the development of the New Testament canon, and material culture.

Recent papers of significance include “A New Fragment of LXX Isaiah 23 (Rahlfs-Fraenkel 844),” Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 47 (2010): 35-45;  “Jesus says: ‘There Is Nothing Buried That Will Not Be Raised’: A Late-Antique Shroud with Gospel of Thomas Logion 5 in Context,” Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum 15 (2011): 389-410; and “Reading the Gospel of Thomas in the Third Century: Three Oxyrhynchus Papyri and Origen's homilies,” in Claire Clivaz and Jean Zumstein (eds.), Reading New Testament Papyri in Context (Leuven: Peeters, 2011), pp. 241-67.

Albrecht Diem

Albrecht Diem has been, since 2007, Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Syracuse University. After studying in Düsseldorf, Tübingen and Utrecht, he gained his doctorate at the last university in 2000, his thesis being subsequently published as Das Monastische Experiment: Die Rolle der Keuschheit bei der Entstehung des westlichen Klosterwesens, Vita Regularis, 24 (Münster: LIT-Verlag, 2005). (His most recent consideration of the theme has appeared as “Das Ende des monastischen Experiments: Liebe, Beichte und Schweigen in der Regula cuiusdam ad virgines,” in Gert Melville and Anne Müller (eds), Female vita religiosa between Late Antiquity and the High Middle Ages: Structures, Developments and Spatial Contexts (Münster: LIT-Verlag 2011), pp. 81-136.)

He went on to hold teaching and research posts at Groningen, Nijmegen, and finally Vienna (working there as a Research Fellow under Walter Pohl), as well as shorter-term fellowships In Vienna and Rome. He also produced a critical edition of the Regula cuiusdam ad virgines while studying for a Licentiate in Mediaeval Studies at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto. Most recently (2010-2011), he held a Friedrich Solmsen Fellowship at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr Diem continues to make his mark on the study of early western monasticism with an extensive series of papers, characteristic in their emphasis on the constant ‘reinvention’ of the monastic way of life (with an associated shifting in its sense of its own past). Crucial examples are:

  • “Vita, Regula, Sermo: Eine unbekannte lateinische Vita Pacomii als Lehrtext für ungebildete Mönche und als Traktat über das Sprechen,” in Richard Corradini, Max Diesenberger and Meta Niederkorn-Bruck (eds), Zwischen Niederschrift und Wiederschrift: Frühmittelalterliche Hagiographie und Historiographie im Spannungsfeld von Kompendienüberlieferung und Editionstechnik (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2010), pp. 223-72.
  • “Rewriting Benedict: The regula cuiusdam ad virgines and Intertextuality as Tool to Construct a Monastic Identity,” Journal of Medieval Latin 17 (2007): 313-28.
  • “Monks, Kings and the Transformation of Sanctity: Jonas of Bobbio and the End of the Holy Man,” in Speculum 82 (2007): 521-59.
  • “Was bedeutet Regula Columbani?,” in Max Diesenberger and Walter Pohl (eds), Integration und Herrschaft: Ethnische Identitäten und soziale Organisation im Frühmittelalter (Vienna, 2002), pp. 63-89. 

Yifat Monnickendam (Visiting Scholar, 2009, 2010-2012)

Yifat Monnickendam recently held a Crane Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, teaching in that university’s Jewish Studies Program (she specializes in the comparative study of Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Greek, and Latin sources in Late Antiquity).  After receiving a BA and MA from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, she completed her doctorate at Bar Ilan University.  She was awarded at that time the Rotenstreich Fellowship, one of the most prestigious awards granted by the Council of Higher Education to doctoral students in Israel.  Her dissertation was titled, “Halakhic Issues in the Writings of the Syriac Church Fathers Ephrem and Aphrahat.”  It focuses on matrimonial law as a test case for understanding the relations between Ephrem and Aphrahat and the surrounding society and culture.  It also answers questions regarding the origin of Syriac Christianity and its relations to contemporary and earlier Jewish, Christian, and pagan traditions and writings.  Her recent publications include, "'I Will Put to Death and Bring to Life, I Will Smite and Heal': Two Versions of the Polemic on the Resurrection of the Dead," Tarbiz: A Quarterly for Jewish Studies 76 (2008): 329-52.  Two articles are forthcoming in Le Museon and Journal of Semitic Studies.  Dr Monnickendam intends to focus now on legal thought, as reflected in Syriac legal writings of the fifth and sixth centuries and contemporary Jewish and Christian literature.  She is planning a book with the tentative title, Marriage and Identity: Jewish Legal Traditions in Ephrem’s Writings.

Megan Hale Williams
After completing bachelor's degrees in both Classics and Biology at Stanford University, Megan Williams completed a doctorate at Princeton University under Peter Brown.  She is the author of The Monk and the Book: Jerome and the Making of Christian Scholarship (Chicago, 2006) and (with Anthony Grafton) Christianity and the Transformation of the Book: Origen, Eusebius, and the Library of Caesarea (Harvard, 2006).  Significant recent papers include "Chromatius and Jerome on Matthew," in Pier Franco Beatrice and Alessio Peršic (eds), Chromatius of Aquileia and his Age (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), pp. 193-226.  While visiting the University, Dr Williams presided over a roundtable discussion with graduate students working in the early Christian field, and over a lunchtime seminar devoted to the topic, "From Apologetic Historian of the Persecuted Church to Christian Imperial Panegyrist."   Dr Williams teaches in the Department of History, San Francisco State University.
Chrysi Kotsifou

Chrysi Kotsifou gained her doctorate in 2002, after undergraduate and graduate research at Goldsmith’s and King’s Colleges, University of London.  She has held post-doctoral fellowships at CUA, Princeton, the American University in Cairo, and Columbia, and has taught at the American University in Cairo.  She was granted a two-year teaching and research fellowship in the Center, combined with an appointment as visiting associate curator in the Semitics/ICOR Library, supported by funds from the Center, the Institute of Christian Oriental Research, and the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.  The Center is also grateful for the support of the late Professor Michael O’Connor.  In addition to graduate teaching, Dr Kotsifou worked on the preservation, cataloguing, and publication of some of the Coptic ostraca and papyri lodged in the ICOR library.  She is currently attached to the Department of Classics at Oxford University.

Karl Johan Skeidsvoll (2006-2007), Research Fellow at the University of Bergen, continued his research on Gregory of Nazianzus.

Caroline Schroeder (Spring 2006), at that time Fellow in the Humanities at Stanford University.  She is currently Assistant Professor of Religious and Classical Studies at the University of the Pacific at Stockton, CA.  She published Monastic Bodies: Discipline and Salvation in Shenoute of Atripe (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007), and received the 2010-2011 Graves Award for outstanding teaching in the humanities.  She is currently writing a monograph on children in late antique monastic environments.

Lewis Ayres (Spring 2005), at that time on the faculty of the Candler School of Theology, Emory University.  He is currently Bede Professor of Catholic Theology in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Durham.  Professor Ayres is a member of the International Editorial Board of our series "CUA Studies in Early Christianity."  He is author of Nicaea and Its Legacy (Oxford University Press, 2004) and of Augustine and the Trinity (Cambridge University Press, 2010).