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Emma Wasserman is an assistant professor of religion at Rutgers University who specializes in early Christian history. Her work focuses on Christian origins within the social, intellectual, and religious contexts of the ancient Mediterranean and especially on apocalypticism and cosmology, the Christian appropriation of ancient philosophy, and the social description of ancient intellectuals. Her published work treats intellectual discourses about the self and their use in the letters of Paul, our earliest and best sources for Christianity.
At Radcliffe, Wasserman will complete her second book on apocalyptic expectations in the letters of Paul. Critical of interpretations that celebrate apocalyptic theology and the uniqueness of Christianity, this work seeks to reinterpret apocalypticism as a vision of cosmic hierarchy and rule that extends into the human sphere to justify the different rank and value of persons. This approach understands Paul as a type of intellectual entrepreneur whose apocalyptic claims structure a creative synthesis of multiple traditions about the cosmos and the self. An important result is an enduring and very distinctive Christian discourse about inner struggle, obedience, and empowerment that makes inner feelings and thoughts into a site for negotiating authenticity, loyalty, and value.
Wasserman holds a PhD in religious studies from Yale University and a BA from Brown University. Her first book, The Death of the Soul in Romans 7: Sin, Death, and the Law in Light of Hellenistic Moral Psychology, was published in 2008 by Mohr Siebeck.