Tony Keddie

Research Interests

  • New Testament (especially Pauline letters, Synoptic gospels, and Revelation)
  • Second Temple Judaism
  • Archaeology of the eastern Roman provinces (especially Judaea/Palestine)
  • Socioeconomic analysis of ancient Jewish and Christian texts
  • Method and Theory for Religious Studies
  • Uses and abuses of the Bible in Modern U.S. Politics

Research Areas

  • Early Christianity
  • Judaism
  • New Testament Studies
  • Archaeology and Material Culture
  • Religions

Projects

I am in the early stages of developing two new projects. The first is a SSHRC Insight Grant-funded project on the labour history of early Christianity. This research will seek to illuminate our earliest literary sources about Christ-followers through analysis of archaeological sources of labour spaces and practices, as well as epigraphic and visual sources of labour and occupations, from across the Roman Empire.

The second is a reception history of chapter 13 of Paul’s letter to the Romans in the New Testament (“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities … for the authority does not bear the sword in vain”) in modern debates over authoritarianism, police brutality, and racial justice. I am interested to explore the different ways that this infamous text has been interpreted as both a proof-text that God ordains authoritarian governments and as a text of resistance against authoritarianism in a range of different contexts, including the contemporary U.S.

My most recent book is Republican Jesus: How the Right Has Rewritten the Gospels (University of California Press, 2020). This book contextualizes and resists the hateful interpretations of the New Testament gospels through which the U.S. Christian Right conjured a Jesus who loves borders, guns, unborn babies, and economic prosperity and hates homosexuality, taxes, welfare, and universal healthcare. In addition to exposing the ways that conservative influencers have developed this right-wing Christ over the last century, I restore Republicans’ cherry-picked gospel texts to their original literary and historical contexts, dismantling the biblical basis for Republican positions on hot-button issues like Big Government, taxation, abortion, immigration, guns, gender, sexuality, and climate change.

My previous books are Class and Power in Roman Palestine: The Socioeconomic Setting of Judaism and Christian Origins (Cambridge University Press, 2019), a critical examination of the archaeological and literary sources of socioeconomic inequality in Judaea/Palestine during the first century of Roman rule; Revelations of Ideology: Apocalyptic Class Politics in Early Roman Palestine (Brill, 2018), a book on the socioeconomic functions of apocalyptic literature in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity; and Jewish Fictional Letters from Hellenistic Egypt: The Epistle of Aristeas and Related Literature (SBL Press, 2018; co-authored with L. Michael White), a study volume on Jewish epistolary literature in Greek from Hellenistic Egypt.

I have also recently finished working on two edited volumes: The Psalms of Solomon: Texts, Contexts, and Intertexts (SBL Press, 2021; co-edited with Patrick Pouchelle and Kenneth Atkinson), which presents essays on a relatively understudied Jewish text from the first century BCE called The Psalms of Solomon; and The Struggle over Class: Socioeconomic Analysis of Ancient Christian Texts (SBL Press, 2021; co-edited by Michael Flexsenhar and Steven Friesen), which presents a range of scholarly opinions on whether “class” is a useful category for the study of ancient Christian literature. I am now turning to work on two new co-edited volumes–one on labour and professions in the Roman Empire and early Christianity, and another on the “social worlds” of ancient Jews and Christians.

 

Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, I received my B.A. in Religion from Temple University, M.A.R. (Master of Arts in Religion) in Second Temple Judaism from Yale Divinity School, and Ph.D. in Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean from The University of Texas at Austin before joining the faculty of Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies at UBC in 2017. I am a specialist in Second Temple Judaism and the New Testament with a particular interest in developing critical theoretical approaches that integrate the study of archaeological and literary sources, critically examine religion’s roles in legitimating power and instigating resistance, and recenter the experiences of marginalized persons that have been occluded by our surviving literary sources. I am also interested in the reception of the New Testament, particularly in contemporary U.S. politics. During my graduate training, I enjoyed being involved in archaeological excavations in Israel and Italy—particularly, the excavations of the synagogue in Ostia, Italy.

Follow me on Twitter @KeddieTony

Graduate Supervision

I am always happy to support graduate students in whatever ways I can as they immerse themselves in research on the ancient world and/or the history of religion. I am available to supervise students working on any area of Second Temple Judaism, Early Christianity, economy and religion in the eastern Roman provinces, and theory and method for the study of religion.

Publications

Books:

Republican Jesus: How the Right Has Rewritten the Gospels. Oakland: University of California Press, 2020. A paperback edition is forthcoming in September 2021 and a Portuguese translation is in preparation.

Class and Power in Roman Palestine: The Socioeconomic Setting of Judaism and Christian Origins. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Revelations of Ideology: Apocalyptic Class Politics in Early Roman Palestine. Journal for the Study of Judaism Supplements 189. Leiden: Brill, 2018.

Jewish Fictional Letters from Hellenistic Egypt: The Epistle of Aristeas and Related Literature (co-authored by L. Michael White). Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature Press, 2018.

Edited Volumes:

The Struggle over Class: Socioeconomic Criticism of Ancient Christian Texts (co-edited by Michael A. Flexsenhar and Steven J. Friesen). SBL Writings from the Greco-Roman World Supplement Series. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature Press, 2021.

The Psalms of Solomon: Texts, Contexts, and Intertexts (co-edited by Patrick Pouchelle and Kenneth Atkinson). SBL Early Judaism and Its Literature 54. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature Press, 2021.

Refereed Journal Articles:

“From the Ptolemies to the Romans: Empire in Jewish Literature from Egypt” (co-authored by R. Gillian Glass), Journal for the Study of Judaism 51 (2020): 1–29.

“‘Who Is My Neighbor?’ Ethnic Boundaries and the Samaritan Other in Luke 10:25–37,” Biblical Interpretation: A Journal of Contemporary Approaches 28 (2020): 246–271.

“Triclinium Trialectics: The Triclinium as Contested Space in Early Roman Palestine,” Harvard Theological Review 113 (2020): 63–88.

“The Vitae Prophetarum and the Archaeology of Jewish Burials: Exploring Class Distinctions in Early Roman Palestine,” Journal of Ancient Judaism 10 (2019): 79–98.

“Iudaea Capta vs. Mother Zion: The Flavian Discourse on Judaeans and Its Delegitimation in 4 Ezra,” Journal for the Study of Judaism 49 (2018): 498-550.

“Ezekiel’s Exagoge and the Politics of Hellenistic Theater: Mosaic Hegemony on a Ptolemaic Model” (co-authored by Jonathan MacLellan), Journal of Ancient Judaism 8 (2017 [2018]): 170-187.

“Paul’s Freedom and Moses’ Veil: Moral Freedom and the Mosaic Law in 2 Cor. 3.1-4.6 in Light of Philo,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 37 (2015): 267-289.

“Judaean Apocalypticism and the Unmasking of Ideology: Foreign and National Rulers in the Testament of Moses,” Journal for the Study of Judaism 44 (2013): 301-338.

“Solomon to His Friends: The Role of Epistolarity in Eupolemos,” Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 22 (2013): 201-237.

Chapters:

“Introduction: The Struggle over Class in the Study of Early Christianity.” Pages 1-50 in The Struggle over Class: Socioeconomic Analysis of Ancient Christian Texts. Edited by G. Anthony Keddie, Michael A. Flexsenhar III, and Steven J. Friesen. SBL Writings from the Greco-Roman World Supplement Series. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature Press, 2021.

“Exhuming Class: Syrian Mortuary Practices and Class Differences in the Gospel of Matthew.” Pages 209-35 in The Struggle over Class: Socioeconomic Analysis of Ancient Christian Texts. Edited by G. Anthony Keddie, Michael Flexsenhar III, and Steven J. Friesen. SBL Writings from the Greco-Roman World Supplement Series. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature Press, 2021.

“Poverty and Exploitation in the Psalms of Solomon: At the Intersection of Apocalyptic and Sapiential Discourses.” Pages 81-110 in The Psalms of Solomon: Texts, Contexts, and Intertexts. Edited by Patrick Pouchelle, G. Anthony Keddie, and Kenneth Atkinson. SBL Early Judaism and Its Literature 54. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature Press, 2021.

“Ptolemaic Sovereignty and the Political Unconscious of 3 Maccabees: Philopator’s Decree (2:28-30) in Light of Late Ptolemaic Asylia Inscriptions.” Pages 193-216 in New Vistas on Early Judaism and Christianity: From Enoch to Montréal and Back. Edited by Lorenzo DiTommaso and Gerbern S. Oegema. Jewish and Christian Texts 22. London: T&T Clark, 2016.

Encyclopedia Entries:

“Alexander Polyhistor,” “Eupolemus,” and “Syria” in T&T Clark Encyclopedia of Second Temple Judaism. Edited by Daniel M. Gurtner and Loren T. Stuckenbruck. 2 volumes. London: T&T Clark, 2019.

Book Reviews:

“Review of Laura Salah Nasrallah, Archaeology and the Letters of Paul,” Mouseion: Journal of the Classical Association of Canada 18 (2021): 598-603.

“Review of Rosemary Luff, The Impact of Jesus in First Century Palestine: Textual and Archaeological Evidence for Longstanding Discontent,” Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture 89 (2021): 897-898.

“Review of Aaron J. Kogon and Jean-Philippe Fontanille, The Coinage of Herod Antipas: A Study and Die Classification of the Earliest Coins of Galilee,” Journal for the Study of Judaism 52 (2020): 1-5.

“Review of Nadav Sharon, Judea under Roman Domination: The First Generation of Statelessness and Its Legacy,” Review of Biblical Literature 08/2018.

“Review of Lester L. Grabbe, Gabrielle Boccaccini, with Jason M. Zurawski, The Seleucid and Hasmonean Periods and the Apocalyptic Worldview,” Review of Biblical Literature 06/2017.

“Review of James M. Scott, BACCHIUS IUDAEUS: A Denarius Commemorating Pompey’s Victory over Judea,” Review of Biblical Literature 12/2016.

Conferences

I am on the Steering Committees for two program units for the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meetings: Hellenistic Judaism and Social-Scientific Criticism of the New Testament.

Grants and Awards

I have been fortunate to receive a SSHRC Insight Grant, UBC Hampton New Faculty Grant, and UBC VPRI Bridge Fund grant to support my ongoing research on the labour history of early Christianity. In the past I have also been a recipient of the Society of Biblical Literature’s Regional Scholar Award, Andrew W. Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fellowship, and Carol and Eric Meyers Fellowship at the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem.