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David Frankfurter is a professor of religious studies and history at the University of New Hampshire and a comparative scholar of ancient religions. His publications have covered apocalypticism, demonology, magic, and violence in early Christianity and the Christianization of Egypt; they include Religion in Roman Egypt: Assimilation and Resistance (Princeton University Press, 1998), which won the award for excellence in the historical study of religion from the American Academy of Religion. His work on social patterns and historical continuities in contemporary satanic-cult panics has led to several articles and the book Evil Incarnate: Rumors of Demonic Conspiracy and Satanic Abuse in History (Princeton University Press, 2006).
Frankfurter’s project for the Radcliffe Institute addresses the particular social worlds in which Christian ideas and symbols were brought together with native Egyptian traditions in late antiquity. Drawing on such primary sources as archaeology, magical texts, and saints’ lives and on models of religious acculturation developed for Africa and Latin America, Frankfurter will investigate the domestic sphere, shrines and their festivals, and monastic scribes and holy men, all with the goal of refining the discussion of “pagan survivals” in the history of early Christianity.
Having received his BA at Wesleyan University, his MTS at Harvard Divinity School, and his PhD at Princeton University, Frankfurter has been a Fairchild Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study and the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend. His year at the Radcliffe Institute is also supported by a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.