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Ross S. Kraemer

Professor of Religious Studies and Judaic Studies:
Religious Studies; Judaic Studies
Phone:
Phone 2: 401 863 3104
Ross_Kraemer@brown.edu

Professor Kraemer's areas of expertise include early Christianity and other religions of the Greco-Roman Mediterranean, including ancient Judaism, especially in the Diaspora. Her research focuses on aspects of women's religions in the Greco-Roman world, particularly Christian and Jewish women. In addition, she is also interested in questions of theory and method in the academic study of religion, and the relationship between religion and modern media.

Biography

Ross S. Kraemer, Professor of Religious Studies, specializes in early Christianity and other religions of the Greco-Roman Mediterranean, including early Judaism. While much of her research focuses on aspects of women's religions in the Greco-Roman world, particularly Christian and Jewish women, her interests also extend to questions of theory and method in the academic study of religion, the study of women and religion cross-culturally and trans-historically, and even religion and modern media (she has taught courses on Religion and Film, Star Trek and Religion, and Jesus in Contemporary Cinema). Before coming to Brown in 2000, she taught most recently at the University of Pennsylvania.


Her publications include Her Share of the Blessings: Women's Religions Among Pagans, Jews and Christians in the Greco-Roman World (Oxford University Press, 1992), When Aseneth Met Joseph: A Late Antique Tale of the Biblical Patriarch and His Egyptian Wife, Reconsidered, (Oxford, 1998); Women and Christian Origins, edited with Mary Rose D'Angelo (Oxford, 1999); Women in Scripture: A Dictionary of Named and Unnamed Women in the Hebrew Bible, the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books and the New Testament, edited with Carol Meyers and Toni Craven (Houghton-Mifflin, 2000; Eerdmans, 2001 [paperback]); and Women's Religions in the Greco-Roman World: A Sourcebook, (Oxford, 2004), a greatly revised and expanded version of Maenads, Martyrs, Matrons, Monastics: A Sourcebook of Women's Religions in the Greco-Roman World, originally published by Fortress Press in 1988. Her most recent book Unreliable Witnesses: Religion, Gender and History in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean (Oxford, 2011) considers the effects of ancient gender constructions on ancient narratives about women's religions and the use of such narratives as evidence for actual practices. It won a 2011 American Academy of Religion Prize for Excellence. She is the author of numerous journal articles and other publications, and has lectured throughout the United States and abroad.


At Brown, she is currently the Director of Graduate Studies in Religious Studies. She has been Acting Chair of the department (Fall, 2002), a co-editor of Brown Judaic Studies, a Freshman Advisor, a co-chair of the Seminar on Culture and Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean (CRAM), a member of the university Committee on Academic Standing and the University Resources Committee, and a speaker at various student and faculty gatherings. She is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, where she has served on numerous committees. Her current research project investigates the fate of Greek-speaking Jewish communities in the ancient Mediterranean at the end of late antiquity.

Interests

Professor Kraemer's research has centered on describing and explaining religious behaviors and beliefs in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean, especially those of women. Some work been more narrowly focused on methodological problems in the identification and analysis of ancient Jewish and Christian inscriptions. Her 2011 book, Unreliable Witnesses: Religion, Gender and History in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean (Oxford University Press) focuses on the intersection of gender and women's history in various ancient Mediterranean religions, with particular attention to theorizing the intersections of religion and gender. It reconsiders her earlier work on such texts as Philo of Alexandria, On the Contemplative Life (his description of the female philosopher/ascetics called Therapeutrides); the Acts of (Paul and) Thecla and such topics as the attraction of women to both Judaism and Christianity in antiquity; women office-holders in ancient religions and others. Her newest project investigates the fate of diaspora Jewish communities in the ancient Mediterranean at the end of late antiquity.

Degrees

Ph.D. in Religion, Princeton University, 1976

Awards

Phi Beta Kappa, Smith College, 1970
Junior Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1982-83
Senior Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1988-89
Fellowship, Annenberg Research Institute, University of Pennsylvania, 1990-91 (declined)
Fellowship, Center for Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 1993-94
Wendy Strothman Award, Brown University, 2007-2008
Guest Fellow, Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 2007-2008
American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in Religious Studies: Textual Studies, 2011, for Unreliable Witnesses: Religion, Gender and History in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean,Oxford, 2011

Affiliations

Society of Biblical LIterature
Canadian Society of Biblical Studies
Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins

Teaching

I teach courses on the beginnings of Christianity (through the fourth century C.E.); on Jews and Judaism in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean; on women's religions both in Greco-Roman antiquity and more broadly; on theory and method in the study of religion; on the intersections of religion and gender; and occasionally on religion and aspects of popular culture, such as Celluloid Jesus (on Jesus in contemporary cinema), or Reel Religion (on representations of religion in film).

Funded Research

Junior Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1982-83
Senior Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1988-89
Fellowship, Annenberg Research Institute, University of Pennsylvania, 1990-91 (declined)
Fellowship, Center for Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 1993-94
Wendy Strothman Award, Brown University, 2007-2008

Curriculum Vitae

Download Ross S. Kraemer's Curriculum Vitae in PDF Format