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Benjamin Dunning

Benjamin Dunning


Department of Theology
Lincoln Center Campus
Lowenstein 921A
113 W. 60th St.
New York, NY 10023



Prof. Dunning grew up in the Philadelphia area and attended the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate, majoring in Classical Studies. He earned a PhD 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 also an affiliated faculty member of Fordham's interdisciplinary programs in both Comparative Literature and Women's Studies. 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 currently chairs the Board of Directors for Fordham University Press and serves an Associate Editor for the Journal of Early Christian Studies.


BA, University of Pennsylvania, Classical Studies
PhD, Harvard University, The Study of Religion

Research Interests

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

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, was published by Columbia University Press in 2014. 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. Prof. Dunning's current projects include a study of various topics related to theological anthropology in the first through fourth centuries and editing the Oxford Handbook of the New Testament, Gender, and Sexuality, under contract with Oxford University Press.



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

Articles (selected)

Chrysostoms Serpent: Animality and Gender in the Homilies on Genesis. Journal of Early Christian Studies 23.1 (2015): 71-95.

Tripartite Anthropologies and the Limits of the Human in Valentinian Christian Creation Myths. Pages 175-97 in The Bible and Posthumanism. Edited by Jennifer L. Koosed. Semeia Studies. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2014.

Mysticism, Femininity, and Difference in Badious 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.

The Intersection of Alien Status and Cultic Discourse in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Pages 177-98 in Hebrews: Contemporary Methods, New Insights. Edited by Gabriella Gelardini. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2005.