Catherine Burris.

Catherine Burris
Visiting Assistant Professor

Office: Ladd 215
Phone: (518)-580-5405


B.A., double major, Classics and Religion; Pacific Lutheran University

M.A. in History; University of Missouri

Ph.D. in Religious Studies; University of North Carolina

Teaching and Research Interests:

I work mainly on late-ancient religious culture and practices, and certain issues – gender, textual transmission and reception, and magic – tend to recur in my courses and my research, whichever specific topic I happen to be addressing.  I often find ways to make my teaching and research overlap, allowing me to bring fresh ideas and the latest scholarship into the classroom.  So, in addition to Religion and Culture, Christian Scripture, Jewish Scripture, Western Religions, and Theory and Methods, I teach a variety of topics courses related to things I have written, or will be writing, about.  These include, for instance, Transvestite Saints; Ancient African Christianity; Magic, Ritual, and Religion; Armageddon and All That; Religion and Medicine; and Early Monasticism.

Published Works:

  • “The Syriac Book of Women: Text and Meta-Text.”  In William Klingshirn and Linda Safran, eds., The Early Christian Book.  Washington DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2007.
  • “Imagining Thecla: Rhetorical Strategies in Severus of Antioch’s 97th Cathedral Homily.”  In F. Young, M. Edwards, and P. Parvis, eds.,  Studia Patristica Vol. XLII, pp. 83-87.  Leuven: Peeters, 2006.
  • Some Further Notes on Thecla in Syriac Christianity." With Lucas Van Rompay.  Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies 6/2 (July 2003).  Available online at
  • "Thecla in Syriac Christianity.  Preliminary Observations.”  With Lucas Van Rompay.  Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies 5/2(July 2002).  Available online at

Works in Progress:

  • "Voiceless Virgins: Agency and Authority in Early Syriac Hagiography.”
  • “Transvestite or Transsexual?: Reassessing the `Transvestite Saints.’”
  •  Constructing Authority In Its Absence: Manuscript as Narrative in a Syriac Monastery.


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