Lab Participants

Lab Directors

John F. Miller, Arthur F. and Marian W. Professor of Classics. His research focuses on the intersection of Latin literature and Roman religion. Relevant publications include a book on Apollo in the Augustan age and many interventions on Ovid’s poetic riffs on Rome’s religious calendar and their reception in later ages. He was chair of UVA Classics from 1999 to 2014 and has successfully run other complex organizations, for instance as Vice President for Program of the American Philological Association, President of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, and Vice President for Professional Matters of the Society for Classical Studies.

Janet Spittler, Associate Professor of Religious Studies. She has worked extensively in the Christian apocrypha, particularly the apocryphal acts of the apostles, as well as in the New Testament itself, the broader world of religions in the Roman Empire, and popular Greek literature. Her publications include studies of the literary context and significance of the animal-related episodes in the apocryphal acts, and the little-known genre of Greek literature dubbed “paradoxography” (“miraculous anecdotes” and “amazing stories”) as valuable comparative material for understanding the miracles presented in early Christian texts. Currently she is one of the inaugural class of College Fellows in the College of Arts and Sciences, teaching in the new curriculum.

Lab Participants

Jessica Andruss, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies. She studies medieval Jewish and Islamic cultural and intellectual history, focusing on the connections between these communities in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Her research centers on texts written by Jews in Arabic, especially translations and commentaries on the Hebrew Bible. Through this literature, she explore the ways the medieval Jews advanced biblical scholarship, adapted the rabbinic tradition, and engaged with Islamic discourse and the wider Arabic culture.

John Dillery, Professor of Classics, is the author of Xenophon and the History of His Times, articles on Greek Classical and Hellenistic historiography, the Loeb edition of Xenophon’s Anabasis, and most recently a monograph on non-Greek historiography written in the Greek language in early Ptolemaic Egypt and Seleucid Babylon, entitled Clio’s Other Sons: Berossus and Manetho, with an afterword on Demetrius the Chronographer.

Sonam KachruAssistant Professor of Religious Studies. His research interests lie in the history of philosophy, with special attention to the history of Buddhist philosophy in South Asia. Topics of particular interest include the philosophy of mind, action and philosophical anthropology. He believes the history of Buddhist philosophy in South Asia is best pursued keeping in view the long conversations of Buddhist and non-Buddhist philosophers in South Asia, and also the importance of narrative thought for the history of ideas. He is currently working on two book length monographs: one on the philosopher Vasubandhu, and his monograph in Twenty Verses; and another on the Buddhist poet Asvaghosa, and his narrative lyric, Beautiful Nanda.

Paul Kershaw, Associate Professor of History and Richard A. & Sara Page Mayo N.E.H. Distinguished Teaching Professor. He works in post-Roman Europe from 500 to 950, with books on Peaceful Kings. Peace, Power and the Early Medieval Political Imagination and (co-authored) The Early Medieval Inscriptions of Brittany. His interests include the diverse materials on travel and pilgrimage in the aftermath of the First Crusade (e.g. visits to the Thebaid, ninth-century pilgrims, tenth-century Arabic accounts of travel in northern Europe). His articles include “Power, Prayer and Illness in Asser’s Life of Alfred.”

Fotini Kondyli, Assistant Professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology. Her research centers on Byzantine and Frankish material culture, the construction of Byzantine spaces, communal identity, household archaeology and Byzantine non-elites. She also works on cultural, economic and political networks in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Late Byzantine period. She is presently writing her first monograph on the material culture of Late Byzantine rural societies. Her work combines archaeology, archival research, spatial analysis, and the digital humanities. An active field archaeologist who has worked in numerous archaeological sites in Greece, Albania, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Germany, she is currently doing fieldwork at Athens and Thebes as part of her new research project on the negotiation of identities in Byzantine cities.

J. E. Lendon, Professor of History. He works in Greek and Roman history and historiography. His research focuses on ancient concepts of honor, military history, and, most recently, rhetoric and government in the Roman Empire.

Charles Mathewes, Carolyn M. Barbour Professor of Religious Studies. He has long worked in Christian theology and modern philosophical ethics and the philosophy of religion, and he is also interested in issues around religion, society, culture, and politics, and in comparative religion, especially comparative religious ethics.

Elizabeth Meyer, T. Cary Johnson, Jr. Professor of History, works in Greek and Roman political and social history, especially as they intersect with (or are illuminated by) law. Current research interests include the growth of documentary practice in Roman law and its relationship to literacy; ancient manumission; epigraphic and archival practices.

Andrej Petrovic, Professor of Classics, UVa, is author of books dealing with Greek epigraphy and Greek religion (currently working on issues of inner purity and pollution with Ivana Petrovic), editor of volumes on Greek epigraphy and literature, and of a couple of dozen articles on Greek epigraphy, religion, magic, cultural and literary history. He is particularly interested in Mediterranean concepts of purity and pollution, in the normative texts in Greek religion, the so-called “Greek sacred regulations,” and in cults and representations of bound divinities. He is an IHGC Mellon Fellow during 2016–18.

Ivana Petrovic, Hugh Obear Professor of Classics, works in Ancient Greek literature, religion, and cultural history, and South-Slavic traditional oral poetry. Her research focuses primarily on the interaction between texts and their historical, religious and social contexts, as in her publications on Hellenistic poetry, which demonstrate the importance of issues of wide societal relevance such as religion, ethnicity, power, and the ideology of empire. Just published is the first volume of a large-scale diachronic study of belief in Greek religion, Inner Purity and Pollution in Greek Religion (with Andrej Petrovic).

Ahmed al-Rahim, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Program in Medieval Studies. He works in the intellectual traditions of medieval Islamic civilization, specializing in the reception history of the philosopher Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna); the genres and tropes of medieval Arabic literary biography; the interrelationship of the religious and philosophical sciences in the madrasa tradition; the history of ethics in classical Islam; the role that manuals of virtue ethics (ādāb) played in shaping the scholastic identity of the philosophers, theologians, Sufis, jurisconsults and judges in the middle ages; and the question of how the classical religious traditions of Islam inform the modern ideologies of political Islam, or Islamism, in the Middle East and South Asia.

Karl Shuve, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, works in early and medieval Christianity; religious and cross-cultural interaction in Late Antiquity; biblical interpretation; theories of gender, sexuality and the body; ritual purity; monasticism and asceticism; book culture. A historian of the religions of the ancient and late antique Mediterranean world, his work attends, in particular, to questions of identity and authority. His present book project focuses on groups and regions from across the Mediterranean world, treating sources in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Coptic and Syriac as well as iconographic evidence.

Tyler Jo Smith, Associate Professor of Classical Archaeology and Director of the Interdisciplinary Archaeology Program. Her research and teaching are concerned with the material and visual manifestation of ancient Greek and Roman religion. Current projects include a book in progress entitled The Art of Greek Religion and continuing research into reliefs with religious themes from Hellenistic and Roman Lycia.