Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Benjamin Dunning

Associate Professor

Duane Library 144     

(718) 817-3260
Lincoln Center 921A  

(212) 636-6383

Ph.D. - Harvard University

B.A. - University of Pennsylvania

Research Interests 

New Testament and Early Christianity, Christianity in Late Antiquity, Theological Anthropology, Gender and Sexuality, Critical Theory, Hermeneutics

Prof. Dunning grew up in the Philadelphia area and attended the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate, majoring in Classical Studies. He earned a Ph.D. in the Study of Religion (concentration in New Testament and Early Christianity) from Harvard University in 2005. Before coming to Fordham, he served as Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Comparative Study of Religion at Harvard. He then joined the Fordham faculty in 2006.

Prof. Dunning teaches primarily in the areas of Christianity in Antiquity, critical theory, and gender and sexuality studies. He is an affiliated faculty member of Fordham’s interdisciplinary programs in both Comparative Literature and Women’s Studies, and also serves as the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies in the Department of Theology. He has been the recipient of several grants, fellowships, and honors, including an E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation Grant, a Research Associate Fellowship from the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School, and Fordham’s GSAS Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. From 2007-2010, Prof. Dunning was the co-chair of the “Sex, Gender, and Sexuality in Pre-modern Christianity” Consultation in the American Academy of Religion. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors for Fordham University Press and the Advisory Board for the Journal of Early Christian Studies. He lives on the Upper West Side.

Research Interests
Prof. Dunning’s research centers on the study of early Christianity from the first through fourth centuries. He focuses particularly on the ways in which Christian authors of this period navigate various modes of human difference (ethnocultural, gendered, sexual) within ancient and late ancient cultural contexts. His first book, Aliens and Sojourners: Self as Other in Early Christianity, investigates why and to what ends early Christians spoke about themselves as resident aliens, strangers, and sojourners, asserting their “otherness” as a fundamental part of being Christian. His second book, Specters of Paul: Sexual Difference in Early Christian Thought, analyzes the theological significance of sexual difference and gendered embodiment in second- and third-century Christian thought. Here he examines differing early Christian conceptions of sexual difference with particular attention to the ways in which the legacy of the Apostle Paul fueled, shaped, and also constrained approaches to the issue.

Trained not only in early Christianity but also in critical and feminist theory, Prof. Dunning is especially interested in furthering the conversation between the history of Christianity, philosophical theology, and contemporary theories of the subject. His publications and teaching relate not only to the ancient world, but also to hermeneutics, historiography, gender and sexuality studies, and Continental philosophy. His third book, Christ without Adam: Subjectivity and Sexual Difference in the Philosophers' Paul, is forthcoming with Columbia University Press.  It interrogates the role of gender and sexuality in recent critical appropriations of Paul within Continental philosophy, including Stanislas Breton, Alain Badiou, and Slavoj Zizek.  He is also currently working on a study of various topics related to theological anthropology in the first through fourth centuries.

Recent Publications

Christ without Adam: Subjectivity and Sexual Difference in the Philosophers' Paul. Gender, Theory, and Religion. New York: Columbia University Press, expected 2014.

Specters of Paul: Sexual Difference in Early Christian Thought. Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.

Aliens and Sojourners: Self as Other in Early Christianity. Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009.

Representative Articles

"Chrysostom's Serpent: Animality and Gender in the Homilies on Genesis." Forthcoming in Journal of Early Christian Studies 23.1 (2015).

“Tripartite Anthropologies and the Limits of the Human in ‘Valentinian’ Creation Myths.” Forthcoming in The Bible and Posthumanism, ed. Jennifer L. Koosed. Semeia Studies. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature.

“Mysticism, Femininity, and Difference in Badiou’s Theory of Pauline Discourses.” Journal of Religion 91.4 (2011): 470-95. 

“What Sort of Thing Is This Luminous Woman?: Thinking Sexual Difference in On the Origin of the World.” Journal of Early Christian Studies 17.1 (2009): 55-84.

“Virgin Earth, Virgin Birth: Creation, Sexual Difference, and Recapitulation in Irenaeus of Lyons.” Journal of Religion 89.1 (2009): 57-88.

“Strangers and Aliens No Longer: Negotiating Identity and Difference in Ephesians 2.” Harvard Theological Review 99.1 (2006): 1-16.



THEO 7222-R01: New Perspectives of Paul, M 2:30-5:00 
THEO 3857-L01: Theologies of Sexuality and Gender, T 11:30-2:15 (LC Campus)

FALL 2013

THEO 6102-R01: Greco Roman Context & Christianity, W 11:45-2:15

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