Department of Religious Studies

Ryan Fitzgerald

The University of Texas at Austin



New Testament | Early Christianity | Greco-Roman Culture | Animal Sacrifice | Gender, Sexuality, & Race/Ethnicity in Antiquity | Identity Theory


Ryan is a PhD student in Ancient Mediterranean Religion. He examines ancient practices in the Mediterranean region around the turn of the era and how the rhetorical dissemination of these practices inform the production of perceived cultural boundaries. Currently he is working ethnic discourses of ancient Jews, Christians, Greeks, and Romans, and how people have identified themselves within these reified groups. Ryan's primary texts are Paul's letters, Galatians in particular, and the reception, interpretation, and discursive maneuvering of second century Christ believers of the Pauline tradition in the process of identity demarcation.


R S 315 • The Bible & Its Interpreters

43135 • Spring 2018
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM CLA 0.118
GCWr (also listed as CTI 304)



This course examines some of the most influential narratives in the Bible and how they have been interpreted through history. The main theme of the course will be relationships. What kinds of readings of the Bible have influenced relationships between women and men historically? What kinds of readings have determined policies on racial or gender segregation? How have biblical interpretations affected national agendas? How do people use the Bible to relate to a particular version of the divine? This course will attend to the ways that thinkers through history have used the Bible and its interpreters to guide philosophies about relationships between men and women, self and “other,” and human and divine. Reading the varieties of these interpretations will give students a general understanding of both how biblical texts were written and how their significances changed over time. This course will make efforts to highlight the contributions to biblical interpretation made by historically marginalized demographics, at times at the expense of more famous interpreters. As such, along with traditionally valorized biblical figures like Abraham, Jacob, David, and Jesus, we will read the stories of strong women like Hagar, Tamar, and the Syrophoenician woman. Likewise, in addition to some of the most influential interpreters of the Bible such as Augustus, Thomas Aquinas, and Martin Luther, we will study contributions made by female pioneers in biblical interpretation such as Julian of Norwich, Angelina Grimké, and Mary Baker Eddy, as well as interpretations from various non-European perspectives. This balance aims to give students both some familiarity with some of the dominant currents of narrative and interpretation while including other perspectives that have too often gone unheard. 


Required texts

The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Fully Revised Fourth Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) or The HarperCollins Study Bible, Fully Revised and Updated (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006). If you have neither, get the Oxford Bible.  Course packet 



Reading Reports (6) 20%

Short essays (2) 20%

Final essay draft 15%

Final essay 25%

Movie analysis 10%

Attendance 10% 

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