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PhD in Religions of Antiquity

November 7, 2016

The Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies (CNES) at the University of Minnesota is now accepting applications for doctoral students in Religions of Antiquity.

The PhD in Religions of Antiquity at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies focuses on comparative, historical, and literary study of the religious texts and practices of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. Students will build (1) theoretical sophistication in the study of ancient religion; (2) language competencies that will enable graduates to work with a wide range of primary sources; (3) deep understanding of the full range of cultural and historical dynamics inherent in ancient religions; and (4) interpretive skills that draw on all available primary sources.

All students admitted receive full funding, which includes tuition, ongoing teaching and research assistantships, eligibility for summer and dissertation fellowships, and healthcare benefits. Students have access to all departmental faculty for courses, exams, and dissertation committees. There are two possible areas of study:

Area A: Ancient Near East and Hebrew Bible

Religions, literatures, and cultures of Israel, Mesopotamia, Canaan, and Israel from the 2nd millennium BCE to the early Persian period. Students will normally have their primary language proficiency be in classical Hebrew. Secondary languages proficiency include Aramaic, Akkadian, or Ugaritic.

Faculty with primary expertise in Area A are Bernard M. Levinson (Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies; Biblical Law; textual reinterpretation in the Hebrew literature of the Second Temple period), Hanne Løland Levinson (Hebrew Bible, gender studies, metaphor theory, and biblical narratives), and Eva von Dassow (Ancient New Eastern Studies, Akkadian, and Ugaritic).

Area B: Greek and Roman Religions, Formative Judaism, Early Christianity

Religions, literatures, and cultures of the Ancient Mediterranean world, with potential focal points in early Christianity (including New Testament literature), Second Temple Judaism (including in Egypt), Greek and Hellenistic religion, and Roman religion. This Area centers on the period from Alexander the Great to Marcus Aurelius (ca. 330 BCE to 180 CE). Students normally gain primary language proficiency in Greek or Latin, with secondary language proficiency in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Aramaic, or Coptic.

Faculty with primary expertise in Area B are Stephen P. Ahearne-Kroll (New Testament, early Christianity, Greek and Hellenistic religion, gender in antiquity), Patricia D. Ahearne-Kroll (Second Temple Judaism, religion on Ptolemaic Egypt, Jewish Greek literature, biblical Hebrew), Spencer Cole (Republican and Imperial Roman religion), and Melissa Sellew (History of Religions in Greek and Roman Antiquity, Early Christianity, Coptic Studies; available through Fall 2018).

Faculty affiliated with CNES are Andrea Sterk (History; Late Antique Christianity), Peter Wells (Anthropology of Prehistoric and Roman-Era Europe), Richard Graff (Writing Studies; Classical Rhetoric and Modern Rhetorical Theory), and Theofanis Stavrou (History; Modern Greek and Greek Orthodoxy).

Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Stephen P. Ahearne-Kroll (