Ph.D. Graduate Books

Coleman A. Baker Jr., graduated in May 2010
Identity, Memory, and Narrative in Early Christianity
Social identity, social memory, and narrative theory intersect in this study of the characterization of Peter and Paul in the book of Acts. Baker argues that the authorial audience’s memories of Peter and Paul are reinterpreted as their characters are encountered in the narrative, and as a result, the audience is to understand themselves as united by a superordinate ingroup identity that transcends cultural boundaries. As prototypes of this common identity, the characters of Peter and Paul demonstrate the open, inclusive identity the audience is expected to embrace.

Nathan J. Barnes
, graduated in May, 2012
Reading 1 Corinthians with Philosophically Educated Women
Women were involved in every popular philosophy in the first century, and the participation of women reaches back to the Greek origins of these schools. Philosophers often taught their daughters, wives, and other friends the basic tenants of their thinking. The Isthmian games and a tolerance for independent thinking made Corinth an attractive place for philosophers to engage in dialogue and debate, further facilitating the philosophical education of women. The activity of philosophically educated women directly informs our understanding of 1 Corinthians when Paul uses concepts that also appear in popular moral philosophy. This book explores how philosophically educated women would interact with three such concepts: marriage and family, patronage, and self-sufficiency.

Jeremy W. Barrier
, graduated in May 2008
Heritage Christian University, Assistant Professor of Biblical Literature and Director of the Graduate Program
The Acts of Paul and Thecla: A Critical Introduction and Commentary
Sometime in the second century, an early Christian text began to circulate called the Acts of Paul and Thecla. Since then, the tale of the apostle Paul, along with his strong heroine co-worker named Thecla, has received much attention as an independent source of information about earliest Christianity for what it might tell us about the role of women in ministry and the relationship women may have had to Paul in his missionary activities. In this volume, Jeremy W. Barrier provides a critical introduction and commentary on the Acts of Paul and Thecla, to serve as a user-friendly starting point for anyone interested in entering into the many discussions and academic writings surrounding the Acts of Paul and Thecla. Apart from a critical text with English translation, followed by textual notes and general comments, the author also offers an extensive introduction to the text.

Israel Kamudzandu
, graduated in May 2007
Saint Paul School of Theology, Assistant Professor of New Testament Studies, Lindsey P. Pherigo Chair
Abraham Our Father: Paul and the Ancestors in Postcolonial Africa
Kamudzandu offers at last a model of multi-cultural Christianity forged in the experience of postcolonial Zimbabwe.
Israel Kamudzandu explores the legacy of how the Shona found in the figure of Abraham himself a potent resource for cultural resistance, and makes intriguing comparisons with the ways the apostle Paul used the same figure in his interaction with the ancestry of Aeneas in imperial myths of the destiny of the Roman people. The result is a groundbreaking study that combines the best tradition-historical insights with postcolonial-critical acumen. Kamudzandu offers at last a model of multi-cultural Christianity forged in the experience of postcolonial Zimbabwe.

Jason T. Lamoreaux
, graduated in May 2011
Adjunct Instructor at Texas Christian University
Ritual, Women, and Philippi Reimagining the Early Philippian Community
As one surveys the scholarship on the canonical letter to the Philippians, one notices the lack of attention to women within many scholars’ analyses. To a certain extent, this lack of attention exists because ancient texts often leave out information about women. Using ritual studies, archaeology, and textual evidence, this work brings life to the ritual lives of ancient Philippian women in their own cultural context. The discipline of ritual studies provides new questions that shed more specific light on the lives of women in this fledgling Jesus group. Therefore, ritual studies brings clarity to early Philippian women’s reception of the letter. Furthermore, this ritual background helps modern readers visualize a more diverse community of Jesus followers in Philippi and provides a clearer picture of the struggles this nascent Jesus community was experiencing.

Abera Mengestu
, graduated in May 2011
God as Father in Paul
God as Father in Paul explores Paul’s use of the kinship term “Father” to refer to God, along with related familial terms (“children” of God and Christ-followers as “brothers and sisters”), as part of a study of the use of kinship language in the identity formation of early Christianity. Mengestu argues that these kinship terms are shared modes of identity constructions within the wider textual and cultural settings (the Roman Empire, the Roman Stoic philosophers, the Hebrew Bible, and ancient Jewish literature) from which Paul draws on as well as contests. Employing theoretical (kinship and social identity theory) as well as interpretative approaches (imperial critical and narrative approaches to Paul), he contends that Paul uses God as Father consistently, strategically, and purposefully, in both stable and crisis situations, to develop a narrative, orienting framework(s) that images the community of Christ-followers as a family that belongs to God, who, together with the Lord Jesus Christ, bestows on them equal but diverse membership in the family. The narrative so constructed forms the foundation for referring to Christ-followers as “children of God” and “brothers and sisters” of one another. It constructs boundaries and serves as nexus of transformation and negotiation.

Aliou C.Niang
, graduated in December 2007
Union Theological Seminary, Assistant Professor of New Testament
Faith and Freedom in Galatia and Senegal: The Apostle Paul, Colonists and Sending Gods
Faith and Freedom in Galatia and Senegal reads Galatians 2:11-15 and 3:26-29 through the lens of the 19th-20th century experiences of French colonialism by the Diola people in Senegal, West Africa, and portrays the Apostle Paul as a “‘sociopostcolonial hermeneut who acted on his self-understanding as God’s messenger to create, through faith in the cross of Christ, free communities’ — a self-definition that is critical of ancient Graeco-Roman and modern colonial lore that justify colonization as a divine mandate.” Aliou C. Niang ingeniously compares the colonial objectification of his own people by French colonists to the Graeco-Roman colonial objectifications of the ancient Celts/Gauls/Galatians, and Paul’s role in bringing about a different portrayal.

Royce Victor
, graduated in May 2007
Colonial Education and Class Formation in Early Judaism
Rooting his argument in both biblical and non-biblical literature of the Second Temple Period, Royce M. Victor seeks to determine how education systems enabled Greek citizens, Hellenes, and Hellenistic Jews to function politically, ethnically, and economically within the larger Greek empire. Victor asserts that the action of such education systems was particularly prevalent in Judea, through the creation of a separate class of `Hellenized Jews’ within the Jewish population. As a secondary theme Victor demonstrates the continuity of the role of the colonial education system in forming a class structure among the colonized by exploring the British education system introduced into colonial India in the early nineteenth century.

Carol B. Wilson, graduated in December 2012
Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington DC.
For I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food: Pragmatics of Food Access in the Gospel of Matthew
In the first century, endemic food shortages left 25 percent of the population below subsistence level and another 30 percent at risk of slipping below subsistence. In the face of such serious food shortages, the Gospel of Matthew advocates for a society in which all people can have access to sufficient food. Matthew critiques first-century practices and attitudes of both aristocrats and peasants that helped or hindered that goal. It does this by depicting Jesus teaching and performing positive practices that provided the Matthean community with an example to emulate, as well as condemning some negative practices and attitudes. For I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food provides a pragmatic lens and a new descriptive paradigm of food access in the first century. The perspective and model are useful for analyzing passages concerned with life-and-death issues of the Matthean community—or situations for any other Christian community, past or present. Should not every person have enough food to sustain physical life?