Profs. Chaudhry and Ahmed Granted Tenure

Profs. Chaudhry and Ahmed Granted Tenure

Rumee Ahmed and Ayesha Chaudhry received official word from the President’s office that they have been granted promotion to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure at the beginning of July. Congratulations Ayesha, Congratulations Rumee.


“For it is not histories that I am writing, but lives; and in the most illustrious deeds there is not always a manifestation of virtue or vice, nay, a slight thing like a phrase or a jest often makes a greater revelation of character than battles where thousands fall, or the greatest armaments, or sieges of cities.” (1.2) In this class we shall read Plutarch’s Life of Alexander, focusing on Plutarch’s narrative technique. In addition, we shall consider the Lives within Plutarch’s larger oeuvre and against other Greek writing from the Roman Empire.

Diet Neufeld – In Memoriam


Dietmar was born to Isaak and Frieda Neufeld in Filadelfia, Paraguay, and moved to Canada at the age of eight. After studying at the University of Winnipeg, and the Mennonite Seminary, he received his Ph.D. at McGill University in 1991. Diet spent most of his academic career at UBC, attaining the rank of Full Professor.

Although Dietmar’s scholarly range was extensive, his particular area of expertise was Social-Scientific Criticism of Christian Scriptures. This is where he established a world-wide reputation. Not only was he the scholar selected to compile the major entry on “The Social Sciences and the New Testament” for Oxford Bibliographies on Line, he also spearheaded two widely successful volumes on Social Scientific Approaches: The Social Sciences and the Translation of the Bible (2008) and, with Richard DeMaris, Understanding the Social World of the New Testament (2010). The Spanish translation of the latter appeared in 2014. To these must be added over twenty articles and book chapters and, most recently, his seminal book on mockery in the New Testament, Mockery and Secretism in the Social World of the Gospel of Mark (2014). In addition, he was the author of Reconceiving Texts as Speech Acts: An Analysis of I John (1994), the jointly authored And So They Went Out. The Lives of Adam and Eve as Cultural Transformative Story (2010), and the jointly edited Not Sparing the Child, a tribute to his colleague Paul Mosca (2015).

Dietmar’s success as an educator was no less impressive. He was a natural instructor who excelled in engaging and intriguing his classes. He did his utmost to meet his students where they lived and to challenge them to think ever more deeply about the modern world by means of their encounters with the ancient world. His success was attested by several richly deserved awards for teaching excellence, including the Alma Mater’s Just Desserts Award, and the highly esteemed UBC Killam Teaching Prize.

Latterly in his career Diet also served as an administrator. After several terms as the Associate Head the Head of CNERS, he became department Head in 2012. His insightful, warm, and collaborative leadership style was much admired, and it came as no surprise that he was urged to return for a second session. Diet also served as an administrator nationally; he was the President of the Canadian Society for Biblical Studies when he passed away, having also served as Treasurer for many years.

Besides being an exemplary scholar, educator, and administrator, Diet was an unforgettable person, famed for his friendliness, his sense of humor, and his compassion for others. His contagious warmth, enthusiasm, and joie de vivre inspirited everyone he met, so that not only did he exert a profound impact on generations of students, he also continually inspired his colleagues to aim for excellence in all they did. In short, he imparted light and life to everyone he met: his family, his friends, his students, his acquaintances—we are all a little bit diminished by his loss.

Those interested can make donations to a Memorial Fund established to continue Diet’s remarkable legacy by supporting the study of Christian Scriptures at UBC.

CNERS Student Association Kicks Off a New Year

Welcome, one and all, to the 2015/2016 school year with your friendly neighbourhood CNERS Student Association! We are your one-stop-shop for all things ancient at UBC and are always happy to accept new members. Pub nights, movie roasts, parties, and writing workshops are just a few of the things we offer throughout the year.

Our new executive team is excited to kick off the school year! We are:

President – Constantin Pietschmann

VP Finance – Scherene Auchterlonie

VP External – Jaymie Orchard

VP Internal – Jayden Lloyd

VP Administration – Sophie Mariano

VP Academic – Megan Barbieri

VP Student Life – Sienna Hutton

Secretary – Rodney Mackenzie

Graduate Representative – Katie Hurworth

Undergraduate Representative – Adam Cheifetz

We’ll be working hard to bring you some great events! Here’s a sneak peak of what we’ve got cooking up for the fall term:

September – Imagine Day, Club Days, CNERS Department Meet and Greet/Mixer

October – Alumni and Career night

November – Theme Party

TBA – Movie Roast

We will also be hosting monthly Pizza and Pub Nights with pizza and first round on us! Come out to meet new friends, chat about CNERS, and eat free food!

And now for something new: CNERS SA is proud to be starting a department journal! We’re looking for enthusiastic and committed volunteers for this project. For more information, please email and check out our UBC Careers Online posting here. For those interested in submitting papers, stay tuned as more information will be coming in September.

So that’s that! More event info and exact dates will be coming to you soon. In the meantime, we of the CNERS SA Exec team invite you to learn more at, Like us on Facebook, and of course, join the club if you haven’t already! Come find us at Imagine Day and Club Days to join in person or email us at We look forward to meeting you!

CNERS Professors win SSHRC Grants

Three CNERS professors were recently award SSHRC Insight Development Grants.

Lisa Cooper received a two year SSHRC Insight Development Grant for a project entitled ‘Archaeological reflections of identity in Neo-Assyrian Period remains at Bestansur, Iraqi Kurdistan’,

Gregg Gardner received a two year SSHRC Insight Development Grant for a project entitled ‘Charity for the Rich: Individual Almsgiving in Early Rabbinic Judaism’., and…

Sara Milstein received a two year SSHRC Insight Development Grant for a project entitled ‘Nothing But the Truth? Near Eastern Scribes and the Production of Legal ‘Opinions.’

Congratulations to Lisa, Gregg, and Sara!

Ancient Papyrus Brought to Light

Congratulations to Chelsea Gardner and Prof. Toph Marshall for bringing to light an important ancient papyrus -“Window on a lost world”: rediscovered papyri at UBC shed light on ancient Egypt.” See the links below for the wonderful coverage on this discovery.

New Book by Prof. Gregg Gardner

Congratulations to Gregg Gardner for the recent publication of his book:

The Origins of Organized Charity in Rabbinic Judaism. Cambridge University Press (2015). The book examines the origins of communal and institutional philanthropy in Judaism.

New Book by Prof. Richard Menkis

Congratulation to Richard Menkis for his just-released co-edited volume:

Richard Menkis & Harold Roper. More than just Games. Canada and the 1936 Olympics. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 2015.

CNERS Head Promoted to Full Professor

CNERS Head Dietmar Neufeld has received official word from President Gupta that he has been granted promotion to the rank of Professor.  Congratulations Diet!

CNERS Students Succeed at CAC/SCEC Competition

Two of our students have had great success at this year’s CAC/SCEC Sight Competition.
Sophia Ly received Third Place in the Senior Latin and Richard Cameron received Honourable Mention in the Senior Greek. Students studying Greek and Latin at universities across Canada participate in the Sight competition so this certainly is a great accomplishment by Sophia and Richard.


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