Ertegun Staff and Scholar Profiles

Jeremiah Coogan

MPhil Judaism & Christianity in the Graeco-Roman World | 2015 Graduate
Nationality: 
American

I came to the University of Oxford for the MPhil in Judaism and Christianity in the Graeco-Roman World, generously funded by the Ertegun Fellowship in the Humanities. My research engages early biblical interpretation from both Christian and Jewish traditions, focusing on the early reception, revisions, and re-translations of the Greek translations of the Hebrew Bible. More broadly, I explore how discourses of narrative identity, textual authority, and group cohesion have often engendered a deep and creative engagement with biblical tradition. Particular foci include the phenomenon of ‘rewritten bible’ and the re-appropriation of biblical texts for liturgical and apotropaic use. While in Oxford, I wrote a dissertation on ‘The Origins of the Septuagint Odes’, which explored the intersection of liturgy and biblical interpretation in Jewish and Christian communities of the first through third centuries CE.

Another exciting aspect of my research is work with ancient manuscripts on papyrus and parchment, with particular attention to the material culture of ancient texts and the methodological insights of the ‘new philology’. Oxford provided an ideal location for manuscript work, both in the magnificent Bodleian collections and through the proximity of major manuscript libraries throughout Europe.

My research at the intersection of classics, religion, and Late Antique studies made the collegial and interdisciplinary environment of Ertegun House an ideal academic community. While at Ertegun house, I was also privileged to organize an interdisciplinary conference on ‘Syriac Intellectual Culture: Translation, Transmission, and Influence’ (30–31 January 2015) with fellow scholar Walter Beers. Selected papers from the conference will be published in the Spring 2016 issue of the journal Aramaic Studies.

I received my first degree with honours from Wheaton College (Illinois, USA) in Ancient Languages, Biblical Studies, and German. Additional training has included courses and workshops in religion and biblical studies at the Universität Tübingen, in papyrology at the Universität Leipzig, and in Septuagint studies at the Universität Göttingen.

I am now pursuing a PhD in Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity at the University of Notre Dame (Indiana, USA). Following my doctoral work, I intend to teach undergraduates.  I hope to be able to share my love of the languages with students, opening doors for them to understand biblical texts and the ancient world in which they were written and read.

When not involved in academic work, I enjoy spending time with my wife Sarah, reading German literature, running, and watching Dr. Who.