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Philip L. Tite

Assistant Professor, Religious Studies


  • PhD, McGill University
  • MA, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • MA, Olivet Nazarene University
  • BA, Olivet Nazarene University

Research Interests

Early Christian Studies, New Testament Studies, Gnosticism, Martyrdom, Christian Apocrypha, Roman Social History, Ancient Moral Philosophy, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, Humor and Religion, Food and Religion

With approximately twenty years of teaching experience, I have had the joy of impacting students and watching them go on to succeed in their lives. I've taught mostly in higher education, including in graduate and undergraduate programs, most recently at the University of Washington and Seattle University prior to joining UVA. My experience also includes some pre-university teaching (I've jested that I've taught everything from pre-school to Ph.D.). I love teaching because I love making a difference by encouraging my students to have agency, to believe in themselves as they grow into life-long learners.

As a researcher, my focus has been on early Christianity with strong interests in social history, thereby situating the study of early Christian social groups within the broader Roman world. My work intersects diverse disciplines, including ancient epistolary studies, archaeology, reception theories, and critical theory. Social group formation and identity activation have been at the heart of my research on moral exhortation in Valentinian Gnosticism, early Christian martyrdom, apocryphal Christian writings, reception theories, and epistolary research in the Petrine and Pauline traditions. Currently, I’m working more closely on gospel traditions, both canonical and apocryphal. Beyond numerous articles and book chapters, including two major translation projects for the MNTA project, I have authored four books and edited a fifth, and I am currently under contract for three further books. I’ve also edited three academic journals and I am the current and founding editor of the book series “Studies in Ancient Religion and Culture” published by Equinox.  My research and teaching constantly strive to bring different academic disciplines into dialogue so that we can better understand the religious and social lives of real people in real communities in late antiquity.

As a teacher, I believe in collaborative pedagogy, where I join my students as a facilitator of a learning community. Teaching, like scholarship, is about creating conversations. Like other disciplines in the humanities, the study of religious phenomena should foster critical thinking skills that have value beyond the specifics of a given course. Critical thinking is a vital component of life-long learning, knowledge mobilization, and engaged citizenship.

Selected Publications

  • (forthcoming) – (editor) New Testament in 5 Minutes. Sheffield: Equinox. (Invited and under contract)
  • (forthcoming) – Luke Through the Centuries. Wiley Blackwell Bible Commentaries. Hoboken, NJ/Chidester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. Co-authored with Mark Bilby. (Invited and under contract)
  • (forthcoming) – Apocryphal Letters of Paul. Early Christian Apocrypha. Cascade Press (Invited and under contract)
  • 2022 – (co-authored with Matthew Whitlock) “The Many Acts of the Apostles: Simulacra and Simulation,” in Critical Theory and Early Christianity, edited by Matthew Whitlock, 147-83. Studies in Ancient Religion and Culture. Sheffield: Equinox.
  • 2022 – “Letter to the Laodiceans,” in Early New Testament Apocrypha, edited by J. Christopher Edwards, 374-94. Ancient Literature for New Testament Studies, 9. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
  • 2020 – “The Dialogue Between John and the Revealer: A New Introduction and Translation,” in New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, volume 2, edited by Tony Burke, 355-77. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
  • 2020 – “Transgression and Countercultural Gnosticism: A Review Essay of April DeConick’s The Gnostic New Age.” Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 49.2: 253-67.
  • 2019 – “Roman Diet and Meat Consumption: Reassessing Elite Access to Meat in 1 Corinthians 8 and 10,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 42.2: 185-222.
  • 2019 – “Balancing Dichotomies, Opening Conversations: A Reflection on Michel Desjardins' Contribution to the Study of Religion in the Classroom and Beyond,” Religious Studies and Theology 38.1-2: 12-26 (Special Festschrift issue in honor of Michel Desjardins).
  • 2019 – “A Polite Conversation, an Edict, and a Sword: A Look at the Martyrdom of Julius the Veteran,” Journal of Theological Studies n.s. 70.1: 184-238.
  • 2016 – “An Encomium on John the Baptist: A New Introduction and Translation,” in New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, volume 1, edited by Tony Burke and Brent Landau, 217-46. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
  • 2016 – “Epistle to the Laodiceans,” in e-Clavis Christian Apocrypha
  • 2016 – “Scripting Acts of Violence: Intersectionality and the Orlando Shooting,” Religion and Culture Forum
  • 2015 – “Social and Ethical Concern in the Interpretation of Knowledge (NHC XI 1): A Rhetorical Analysis of Interp. Know. 20.36-38,” Journal of Biblical Literature 134.3: 651-73.
  • 2015 – “Voluntary Martyrdom and Gnosticism,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 23.1: 27-54.
  • 2015 – “Violence,” in Vocabulary for the Study of Religion, edited by Kocku von Stuckrad and Robert Segal, 3: 568-74. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.
  • 2014 – “Teaching Beyond the World Religions Paradigm,” Practicum: Critical Theory, Religion, and Pedagogy.
  • 2013 – “Dusting Off a Pseudo-Historical Letter: Re-thinking the Epistolary Aspects of the Apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans,” in Paul and Pseudepigraphy, edited by Stanley E. Porter and Gregory P. Fewster, 289-318. Pauline Studies, 8. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.
  • 2013 – “Theoretical Challenges in Studying Religious Experience in Gnosticism: A Prolegomena for Social Analysis,” Bulletin for the Study of Religion 42.1: 8-18.
  • 2012 – The Apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans: An Epistolary and Rhetorical Analysis. Texts and Editions for New Testament Study, 7. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.
  • 2010 – “How to Begin, and Why?  Diverse Functions of the Pauline Prescript within a Greco-Roman Context,” in Paul and the Ancient Letter Form, edited by Stanley E. Porter and Sean A. Adams, 57-99. Pauline Studies, 6. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.
  • 2010 – “‘Reading’ and ‘Re-Reading’ the Frampton Mosaics: Religious Innovation and the Construction of Cultural Identity in Roman Britain,” in M. Dalla Riva, H. Di Giuseppe, eds, Meetings between Cultures in the Ancient Mediterranean. Proceedings of the 17th International Congress of Classical Archaeology, Rome 22-26 September 2008. Bollettino di Archeologia on line, 1, 2010/ Volume speciale B / B7 / 7. Pp. 41-55. (
  • 2009 – “Nurslings, Milk, and Moral Development in the Greco-Roman Context: A Reappraisal of the Paraenetic Utilization of Metaphor in 1 Peter 2.1-3,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 31.4: 371-400.
  • 2009 – Valentinian Ethics and Paraenetic Discourse: Determining the Social Function of Moral Exhortation in Valentinian Christianity. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies, 67. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.
  • 2008 – Religion, Terror, and Violence: Religious Studies Perspectives, co-edited with Bryan Rennie. New York/London: Routledge.
  • 2005 – “The Two-Way Schema in Valentinian Paraenesis,” ARC: The Journal of the Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University 33: 197-211 (Special Issue: Essays in Honour of Frederik Wisse: Scholar, Churchman, Mentor).
  • 2004 – “An Exploration of Valentinian Paraenesis: Rethinking Gnostic Ethics in the Interpretation of Knowledge (NHC XI, 1),” Harvard Theological Review 97.3: 275-304.
  • 2004 – Conceiving Peace and Violence: A New Testament Legacy. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
  • 2003 – “On the Necessity of Crisis: A Reflection on Pedagogical Conflict and the Academic Study of Religion,” Teaching Theology and Religion 6.2: 76-84.
  • 2001 – “The Holy Spirit’s Place in Origen’s Trinitarian System: A Comparison with Valentinian Pneumatology,” Theoforum 32.2: 131-64.
  • 2001 – “Categorical Designations and Methodological Reductionism: Gnosticism as Case Study,” Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 13.3: 269-92.
  • 2001 – “Textual and Redactional Aspects of the Book of Dreams (1 Enoch 83-90),” Biblical Theology Bulletin 31.3: 106-20.
  • 1998 – “Princess Diana, Mythmaking and the Academic Study of Religion,” Council of Societies for the Study of Religion Bulletin 27.2: 27-30.
  • 1997 – Compositional Transitions in 1 Peter: An Analysis of the Letter-Opening. Bethesda, MD: International Scholars Publications.
  • 1997 – “Valis and Modern Gnosis,” Religiologiques 16: 135-43.
  • 1997 – “A Community in Conflict: A Literary and Historical Reading of John 9,” Religious Studies and Theology 15.2-3: 77-100.

Book Reviews in various journals, including Religious Studies Review, Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses, Toronto Journal of Theology, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Review of Biblical Literature, Journal of Theological Studies, and Teaching Theology and Religion.