Ph.D. Job Candidates
Rebecca Falcasantos, PhD Candidate
Rebecca is a Ph.D. candidate in the Early Christianity program. Rebecca's primary field is Christianity in Late Antiquity and Early Byzantium, and her research broadly focuses on the formulation of Christian identity and contestations over cultural hegemony in the Eastern Empire. She is particularly interested in issues of religious diversity and strategies used in the promulgation of a normative Christian cultural identity, including homiletics, hymnography, architectural programs, ritual life, and material-oriented practice. She is also interested in the role of memory and topography in the creation of religious landscapes.
Rebecca's teaching interests include Christianity in Late Antiquity (Patristics), New Testament and Early Christianity, Syriac Christianity, Greek and Roman religion and culture, and the History of Christianity.
Andrew Tobolowsky, Ph.D. Candidate
Andrew Tobolowsky is PhD candidate in the Religious Studies department, focusing primarily on Biblical studies with a strong secondary focus in Classics covering, roughly, the Iron and Archaic ages respectively. He has a B.A in Religious Studies from Brown University, an M.Phil in English Literature from Trinity College, Dublin and an M.A. in Religious Studies from Brown University. His work focuses on myth and the construction of various forms of identity from a broadly comparative Mediterranean perspective, and his dissertation is an investigation into myth genealogies and their role in constructing ethnicity and identity in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE. He is additionally interested in ethnicity studies, myth theory, folklore, and methods of narrative transmission in the ancient Mediterranean, as well as Northwest Semitic languages and literature and Eastern Mediterranean archaeology.
Stephen Young, Ph.D. Candidate
Stephen is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at Brown University and the recipient of the Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fellowship for 2013-14. He studies religion in the ancient Mediterranean, focusing specifically on Judaism in the Hellenistic through early Roman Imperial periods and Christianity in the first through third centuries. He received a B.A. in Ancient History and English Literature from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in 2004, and graduated with a MAR in Biblical Studies and Th.M. in Hebrew Bible from Westminster Theological Seminary in 2008.
Stephen’s dissertation, “Paul the Apostle, the Mythmaker: Innovative Reuse of Recognizable Myths to Explain his Christ-Cult to Gentiles,” pursues his Hellenistic and post-Hellenistic period interests in sacred books and mythmaking religious specialists who, in varying ways, used sacred books. It explores Paul within the landscape of mythmaking religious and philosophical specialists, arguing that we can understand many of Paul’s claims about Christ, Gentiles, the founding of his Christ-cult, sin, and the afterlife in terms of Paul innovatively reusing myths and mythic themes that were familiar to his Greco-Roman audiences, and, furthermore, that Paul drew upon Judean sacred writings in the light of these myths. Paul’s audiences would have recognized him as one among many religious gurus in their world who explained and authorized their cultic options through such reuse of known myths and associated interpretive activity involving sacred books.
Stephen’s areas of teaching competence include New Testament and other First through Third century Christian literature, Hellenistic and early Roman Imperial period Judaism, Hebrew Bible, Greco-Roman Religion and Philosophy, Theories of Religion, and the History and Ideologies of Biblical Interpretation.