|Associate Professor of Religion
Director of Graduate Studies
Departmental Area: Religions of Western Antiquity
Address: Department of Religion
Nicole Kelley (Ph.D. ’03, Harvard University, The Study of Religion: New Testament and Christian Origins) teaches courses in the area of ancient Christianity. Her research focuses on Christian apocryphal literature, the interaction between late antique Jews and Christians, martyrdom and religious violence, the production and contestation of religious identities in the ancient world, and ancient conceptions of the body as an artifact of religious import. She is currently working on a book provisionally entitled The Church Body: Deformity and Disability in Ancient Christianity, which examines the religious significance of congenital deformities in late antique and early medieval Christian writings.
- Christian representations of deformities and disabilities
- Illness and healing in the ancient world
- Christian martyr acts
- Ancient magic and astrology
- Knowledge and Religious Authority in the Pseudo-Clementines: Situating the Recognitions in Fourth-Century Syria. WUNT 2.213; Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006.
- “The Deformed Child in Ancient Christianity,” in Children in Ancient Christianity, ed. Cornelia B. Horn (Mohr Siebeck, forthcoming).
- “Astrology in the Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 59.4 (2008), 607-629.
- “The Theological Significance of Physical Deformity in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies,” Perspectives in Religious Studies 34 (2007), 77-90.
- “Philosophy as Training for Death: Reading the Ancient Christian Martyr Acts as Spiritual Exercises,” Church History 75.4 (2006), 723-747.
- “Problems of Knowledge and Authority in the Pseudo-Clementine Romance of Recognitions,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 13.3 (2005), 315-348.
- “The Cosmopolitan Expression of Josephus’ Prophetic Perspective in the Jewish War,” Harvard Theological Review 97.3 (2004) 257-274.
- “Epilepsy in Late Antique Christian Writings,” presented at the Disability Studies and Healthcare in the Bible and Near East section, AAR/SBL Annual Meeting, November 2007
- “The Epidemiology of Religion in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies,” presented at the XV International Conference on Patristic Studies, Oxford UK, August 2007
- “On Recycling Texts and Traditions: The Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions and Religious Life in Fourth-Century Syria,” presented at the colloquium “Late Antique Crossroads in the Levant: Space, Ritual, Texts and Daily Life,” Montreal, Canada, November 2006
- “Pseudo-Clementine Polemics against Sacrifice: A Window onto Religious Life in the Fourth Century?”, presented at the colloquium “Christian Apocryphal Texts for the New Millennium: Achievements, Prospects, and Challenges,” Ottawa, Canada, September-October 2006
- “What is the Value of Sense Perception in the Pseudo-Clementine Romance?”, presented at the Colloquium on the Pseudo-Clementine Romance, Lausanne and Geneva, Switzerland, July-August 2006
- “Astrological Knowledge and Apostolic Competition: The Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions in the Context of Fourth-Century Syria,” presented at the Christian Apocrypha Section, AAR/SBL Annual Meeting, November 2005
- New Testament Gospels and Acts
- Suffering and martyrdom in ancient Christianity
- Christian apocryphal literature
- The body in ancient Christianity
REL2240 Introduction to the New Testament
An introduction to the literature of the New Testament and to the academic approaches to it. The distinctive concerns and literary features of individual texts will be studied in the contexts of the historical development of the early Christian church, ancient Judaism, and the wider Greco-Roman world. Emphasis throughout will fall on the variety of interpretations of the Christian message as Christians encountered new social circumstances and theological challenges.
REL3293 Sex in the New Testament and Early Christianity Dr. Kelley
This course examines what early Christian writings – including but not limited to the texts of the New Testament – have to say about issues such as sexual activity, lust, biological sex, and gender. We will read a number of ancient texts along with modern scholarly discussions. Selected topics include: the depiction of Jesus as an exemplar of Greco-Roman ideals of masculinity; the use of sexual slander in ancient Christian polemics; same-sex relations in ancient Christianity; and the impact of slavery on discussions of sexual morality.
REL4511/5515 Christianity in Late Antiquity Dr. Kelley
This reading intensive course is an advanced survey of important events, movements, ideas, and people in the development of Christianity during the fourth and fifth centuries CE. The course is organized around a series of topics of particular significance in ancient Christianity, including the relationship between Christians and the Roman empire, Christological controversies, the formation of the canon, early creeds and councils, asceticism and monasticism, and the lives of the saints. Particular emphasis is placed on careful reading of relevant primary texts in English translation. By the end of this course, students will be able to: (1) summarize the major themes of important works of Christian literature in the fourth and fifth centuries CE; (2) evaluate the historical, social, and theological significance of these works; (3) apply their knowledge of late antique Christian history to the interpretation of these texts; and (4) describe major developments in the history of Christianity during the fourth and fifth centuries CE.
REL2240 Introduction to the New Testament Dr. Kelley
An introduction to the literature of the New Testament and to the academic approaches to it. The distinctive concerns and literary features of individual texts will be studied in the contexts of the historical development of the early Christian church, ancient Judaism, and the wider Graeco-Roman world. Emphasis throughout will fall on the variety of interpretations of the Christian message as Christians encountered new social circumstances and theological challenges.
Sec. 1 (Ref# 04070) M W F 11:15am-12:05pm WMS 0318
Sec. 2 (Ref# 07638) T R 9:30am-10:45am BEL 0005
Sec. 3 (Ref# 07639) T R 2:00pm-3:15pm SAN 0407 *Dr. Kelley
REL4510/5297 Christianity After the New Testament Dr. Kelley
This survey course covers major developments in the history and theology of Christianity in the first three centuries of the common era. Particular attention will be paid to the interaction between Christians and non-Christians, the articulation of ideas about orthodoxy and heresy, and the development of Christian rituals, ethics, and church offices. Assigned readings focus primarily on ancient Christian texts in English translation. The course format will be part lecture and part group discussion.
Sec. 1/1 (Ref# 07628/07629) T R 12:30pm-1:45pm DOD 0207