Janet Spittler

Associate Professor

Gibson Hall, S-231


  • BA, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • MA, University of Chicago
  • PhD, University of Chicago

Research Interests

The majority of my research to date centers around the Christian apocrypha, particularly the apocryphal acts of the apostles.  My first book explores the literary context and significance of the animal-related episodes that are so common in the acts, and in subsequent articles I have treated various other aspects of these texts. 
My current research project involves a little-known genre of Greek literature dubbed “paradoxography” by modern scholars.  These texts are essentially collections of “miraculous anecdotes” and “amazing stories,” ranging from reports of fabulous plants and animals to accounts of human beings that can bilocate, fly, and return from the dead.  These last three items (all things that Jesus and/or other characters in early Christian narratives do), perhaps suggest my interest in the genre.  My basic idea is that these overlooked sources provide extremely valuable comparative material for understanding the miracles presented in early Christian texts.  Paradoxography fills in the “miraculous landscape,” so to speak, within which early Christian authors were composing their own amazing stories.


  • New Testament
  • The Gospels
  • Paul
  • Apocryphal Literature
  • Religions of Roman Empire
  • Ancient Greek Popular Literature

Selected Publications

  • Animals in the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles: Early Christianity’s Wild Kingdom. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008.
  • “µανθάνεις πρὸς τίνας εἴρηται τὰ εἰρηµένα; Metalepsis in the Apocryphal Acts of Andrew.” In Metalepsis in Ancient Cultures. Ed. by Peter v. Möllendorff and Ute Eisen. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013. 
  • “Wild Kingdom: Animals in the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles.” In Fictional Intersections: The Ancient Novel and the Early Christian and Jewish Narrative. (Proceedings of ICAN 2008) Ed. by Marília Pinheiro. Groningen: Barkhuis, 2013.
  • “Christianity at the Edges: Representations of the Ends of the Earth in the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles.” In The Rise and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries CE. Edited by Clare Rothschild and Jens Schroeter. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013.
  • "The Anthropology of the Acts of Thomas.” In Christian Body, Christian Self. Ed. by Clare Rothschild and Trevor Thompson. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011. 203–16.
  • “Animal Resurrection in the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles and Patristic Authors.” In Gelitten, Gestorben, Auferstanden.  Ed. by Tobias Nicklas, Andreas Merkt and Joseph Verheyden.  Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010. 343–66