Jennifer Wright Knust is an assistant professor of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross specializing in the New Testament and early Christian history. Her research interests include ancient sexualized invective, early Christian asceticism, and feminist approaches to Christian history and scripture.
At Radcliffe, Knust will pursue original research on the pericope adulterae, the story of Jesus and an adulteress now found in the Gospel of John. This story does not appear in the earliest gospel manuscripts. As a result, scholars agree that it was absent from the most original form of John. Since the focus among scholars has been on reconstructing the primitive gospel text, few have sought to explain why the story began to be included when it did. Knust places John 7:53–8:11 within a history of interpretation that includes a consideration of manuscript witnesses, patristic exegesis, and liturgical use from the late antique through the medieval periods.
Knust earned her PhD in 2001 from Columbia University. She was a recipient of an American Association of University Women Fellowship for research toward the completion of her dissertation on sexual slander in early Christian discourse, now a forthcoming book. In addition to her appointment as a fellow at Radcliffe, she received a 2003 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend and an ACLS/Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Junior Faculty for her work on the pericope adutlerae. She will be a fellow of the ACLS and the Radcliffe Institute simultaneously throughout 2003–2004.