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Alicia Batten

Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Theological Studies

Alicia BattenContact
(519) 885-0220 ext. 24246
Office:  CGUC 2116

On sabbatical January-May 2017.

BA, McGill University, 1989
MA, University of St. Michael’s College, 1992
PhD, University of St. Michael’s College, 2000

Research Areas:

The Letter of James, Social History of Christian Origins and Early Christianity, History of Biblical Interpretation 

Courses Taught:

RS 122 – Sacred Beauty: Religion and the Arts
RS 235 - Jesus: Life and Legacy 
RS 236 – Paul: Life and Letters 
RS 260 - The Study of Religion

TS 611 – Reading and Teaching the New Testament
TS 617 – Unity and Diversity in the New Testament
TS 718 – Selected Topics in New Testament Exegesis: James; Gospel of Mark


Alicia Batten received her BA in Humanistic Studies from McGill University, and completed an MA and PhD in Theology, with a focus on the New Testament, at the University of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses upon the origins and development of early Christianity, with particular emphasis upon the ancient Mediterranean cultural context (s), including material culture. She also thinks it important to study the shifting manner in which biblical texts have been interpreted over the centuries, and is currently writing a commentary examining the text reception and impact of the Letter of James. Beyond her academic interests, Alicia enjoys gardening, art, and reading works of fiction and poetry.

Selected Publications:

  • “The Letter of Jude and Graeco-Roman Invective” HvTSt 70 (2014) 7 pgs (6800 words).
  • “The Characterization of the Rich in James 5.” Pages 45-61 in To Set at Liberty. Essays on Early Christianity and Its Social World in Honor of John H. Elliott. Edited by Stephen K. Black. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2014.
  • Dressing Judeans and Christians in Antiquity. Edited by Kristi Upson-Saia, Carly Daniel-Hughes and Alicia J. Batten. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2014.
  • “The Paradoxical Pearl: Signifying the Pearl East and West.” Pages 233-250 in Dressing Judeans and Christians in  Antiquity. Edited by Kristi Upson-Saia, Carly Daniel-Hughes and Alicia J. Batten. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2014.
  • James, 1 & 2 Peter and Early Jesus Traditions. Edited by Alicia J. Batten and John S. Kloppenborg. LNTS 478. London: Bloomsbury/T&T Clark, 2014.
  • “The Urbanization of Jesus Traditions in James.” Pages 78-96 in James, 1 & 2 Peter and Early Jesus Traditions. Edited by Alicia J. Batten and John S. Kloppenborg. LNTS 478. London: Bloomsbury/T&T Clark, 2014.
  • “Thematic Affinities between the Letter of James and the Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles.” Pages 245-62 in Apocrypha. Receptions of the New Testament in Ancient Christian Apocrypha. Novum Testamentum Patristicum 26. Edited by Tobias Nicklas and Jean-Michel Roessli. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2014.
  • “The Urban and the Agrarian in the Letter of James,” Journal of Early Christian History 3.2 (2013) 4-20.
  • “Rotting Riches: Economics in the Letter of James,” Vision 14, 1 (2014) 6-11.
  • “Clothing” Oxford Bibliographies in Biblical Studies.  Edited by Christopher Matthews. New York: Oxford, 2013.
  • “Metaphors We Teach By: The Language of Learning Outcomes,” Teaching Theology and Religion 15 (2012) 16-28.
  • “Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret Dunlop Gibson.” Pages 2010-13 in Handbook of Women Biblical Interpreters. Edited by Marion Taylor and Agnes Choi. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012.
  • “Carthaginian Critiques of Adornment,” Journal of Early Christian History 1 (2011) 3-21.
  • “The Jesus Tradition and the Letter of James,” Review and Expositor 108 (2011) 381-90.
  • “Reading the Bible in Occupied France: André Trocmé and Le Chambon,” Harvard Theological Review 103 (2010) 309-28.
  • “BTB Reader’s Guide: Clothing and Adornment,” Biblical Theology Bulletin 40 (2010)148-59.
  • Friendship and Benefaction in James. Emory Studies in Early Christianity 15. Blandford Forum, UK: Deo, 2010
  • What Are They Saying about the Letter of James? Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 2009.
  • “Brokerage: Jesus as Social Entrepreneur.” Pages 167-77 in Understanding the Social World of the New Testament. Edited by Dietmar Neufeld and Richard DeMaris.  London & New York: Routledge, 2009.
  • “’Neither Gold nor Braided Hair’ (1 Tim 2:9; 1 Pet 3:3): Adornment, Gender and Honour in Antiquity,” New Testament Studies 55 (2009) 484-501.
  • “The Degraded Poor and the Greedy Rich: Exploring the Language of Poverty and Wealth in the Letter of James.” Pages 65-77 in The Social Sciences and Biblical Translation. Edited by Dietmar Neufeld. Symposium Series 41; Atlanta: SBL; Leiden: Brill, 2008.

Selected Activities: 

  • Associate Editor, Biblical Theology Bulletin

  • Associate Editor, Hervormde teologiese studies (University of Pretoria, South Africa)

  • Leadership Team Member, 2015-16 Workshop for Pre-Tenure Undergraduate Religion Faculty, Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, Wabash Center, IN

Conference Papers and Addresses

  • “Fish for Thought in the Early Church” Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, San Diego, November 2014.
  • “Gender, Sex, Body, Dress,” Annual Meeting of the Context Group, Pickering, ON, March 2013.
  • “James and Greco-Roman Invective Against the Rich,” AAR/SBL Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, November 2012.
  • “Theorizing Dress,” CSBS Annual Meeting, Waterloo, May 2012.
  • “Pearls in the Ancient Economy and in Early Christianity,” AAR/SBL Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, November 2011.
  • “The ‘Giblews’ and the Palimpsest,” AAR/SBL Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, November 2011.
  • “Agrarian Imagery in the Letter of James,” CSBS Annual Meeting, Fredericton, NB, May 2011.
  • “The Impact of an Urban Setting on Jesus Traditions in James,” AAR/SBL Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, November 2010.

Public Speaking

  • “Doubting and Enduring in the Letter of James” MCEC Pastors’ Breakfast, Conrad Grebel University College, October, 2013.
  • “The Roles of Women in Christianity” for the Sudbury Multi-faith Dialogue, Sudbury, ON, October, 2011.
  • “Sin, Repentance and Forgiveness in the Christian Tradition” for the Sudbury Multi-faith Dialogue, Sudbury, ON, March 2011.

Fellowships and Awards:

  • Graves Award in the Humanities – American Council of Learned Societies
  • Society of Biblical Literature Regional Scholar – SBL
  • Fortress Press Undergraduate Religion Teaching Award
  • Wabash Centre Colloquys and Research Grant
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarships

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