Alicia Batten

Professor of Religious Studies and Theological Studies

Alicia Batten

(519) 885-0220 ext. 24246
Office:  CGUC 2124

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, Dress in Mediterranean Antiquity, History of Biblical Interpretation 

Courses Taught:

ARTS 130 - Inquiry and Communication (Topic: Life Stories)
RS 225 – Sacred Beauty: Religion and the Arts
RS 235 - Jesus: Life and Legacy 
RS 236/JS 236 – Paul: Life and Letters 
RS 260 - Religion Matters
RS 327/CLAS 326/GSJ 327 - The Body, Dress, and Religion

TS 611 – Studying the New Testament
TS 617 – Unity and Diversity in the New Testament
TS 649 - The Early Church
TS 718 – Selected Topics in New Testament Exegesis: James
TS 718 - Selected Topics in New Testament Exegesis: Gospel of Mark


Alicia Batten received her BA in Humanistic Studies from McGill University, and completed an MA and PhD 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 are 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, hiking, art, and reading works of fiction and poetry. 

Alicia meets with a student in her office

Recent Publications:

  • "Early Anabaptists and the Pauline Tradition" in Reformatorische Paulusauslegungen, edited by Stefan Krauter and Manuel Nägele, 383-98. History of Biblical Exegesis 5. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2023.
  • "Dressing for Deities: functions and Meanings of Dress within Ancient Associations" in Associations, Deities, and early Christianity, edited by Bruce Longenecker, 85-100. Waco. TX: Baylor University Press, 2022.
  • “James the Dramatist” in Who Was James? Essays on the Letter’s Authorship and Provenance, edited by Eve-Marie Becker, Sigurvin Lárus Jónssen, and Susanne Luther, 313-30. WUNT 1/485; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2022.
  • “Reading Mark through the Lens of Class” in The Struggle Over Class. Socioeconomic Analysis of Ancient Christian Texts, edited by G. Anthony Keddie, Michael Flexsenhar III, and Steven J. Friesen, 187-208. Writings from the Greco-Roman World Supplement Series 19. Atlanta: SBL, 2021.
  • “Remembering the Sermon in the Mountains of France”in Social and Cognitive Perspectives on the Sermon on the Mount, edited by Rikard Roitto, Colleen Shantz, and Petri Luomanen, 307-32. Studies in Ancient Religion and Culture. Sheffield: Equinox, 2021.
  • Dress in Mediterranean Antiquity, (co-edited with Kelly Olson). London: T & T Clark/Bloomsbury, 2021.

  • “Introduction” (co-written with Kelly Olson)” in Dress in Mediterranean Antiquity, edited by Alicia J. Batten and Kelly Olson, 1-7. London: T & T Clark/Bloomsbury, 2021.
  • “Dress and Religious Studies,” in Dress in Mediterranean Antiquity, edited by Alicia J. Batten and Kelly Olson, 19-26. London: T & T Clark/Bloomsbury, 2021.
  • “Dirty Laundry in the Christ Cult,” in Dress in Mediterranean Antiquity, edited by Alicia J. Batten and Kelly Olson, 313-24. London: T & T Clark/Bloomsbury, 2021.
  • “The Letter of James and the Divine Liturgy” in “To Recover What Has Been Lost”: Essays on Eschatology, Intertextuality, and Reception History in Honor of Dale C. Allison Jr., edited by Tucker Ferda, Daniel Frayer-Griggs, and Nathan C. Johnson, 337-350. NovTSupp 183. Leiden: Brill, 2020.
  • “Gender,” in The Ancient Mediterranean Social World, edited by Zeba A. Crook, 141-56. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2020.
  • “The Gospel in Ancient Mediterranean Context,” in A Companion to World Literature, Volume One, edited by Wiebke Deneke and Ilaria Ramelli, 119-29. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell, 2020.
  • “Reading James with the Social Sciences” in Reading the Epistle of James, edited by Darian Lockett and Eric Mason, 177-91. Resources for Biblical Study 94. Atlanta: SBL Press, 2019.
  • “Forward” in Dress and Clothing in the Hebrew Bible, edited by Antonios Finitsis. London: T & T Clark/Bloomsbury, 2019.
  • “The Epistle of James” Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online. Edited by David G. Hunter, Paul J. J. van Geest, and Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Leiden: Brill, 2018.
  • "Early Anabaptist Interpretation of the Letter of James." Annali di Storia dell'Esegesi, 34 (2017): 541-55; reprinted in The Conrad Grebel Review 36/1 (2018): 54-70.
  • Friendship and Benefaction in James. Emory Studies in Early Christianity 15. Atlanta: SBL Press, 2017. Reprint of 2010 book.
  • Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (with Elsa Tamez, Cynthia Briggs Kittredge and Claire Miller Colombo). Wisdom Commentary Series¸ Volume 51. Collegeville:  Liturgical Press, 2017.
  • “Fish Tales.” Biblical Theology Bulletin 47 (2017) 5-14.

For a fuller listing, please see my Academia page:

Selected Activities: 

  • General Editor, Review of Biblical Literature, SBL Press, 2020-
  • Associate Editor, Biblical Theology Bulletin, 2008-21
  • Associate Editor, Hervormde teologiese studies (University of Pretoria, South Africa), 2013-
  • Associate Editor, Rhetoric of Religious Antiquity, SBL Press, 2015-21
  • 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

Recent Conference Papers and Addresses

  • “Healing Body and Soul in the Letter of James.” Invited paper for the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies/Canadian Society of Patristic Studies Joint Seminar Honouring the late Dr. Harold Remus, York University, May 29, 2023.
  • “Dress and Ethnicity.” Invited presentation for Ethnicity and Ethnic Constructs Workshop, Classics Department, University of Waterloo, April 26-27, 2023.
  • Invited review panelist for the review of Jennifer A. Quigley, Divine Accounting. Theo-Economics in Early Christianity (New Haven: Yale, 2021), Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Denver, November 2022.
  • Invited respondent to “The Representation of Mission in the Acts of the Apostles.” Annual Meeting of the SNTS, Leuven, Belgium, July 2022.
  • “The Theatricality of James 2.” Short paper delivered at the 75th meeting of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, Leuven, Belgium, July 2021 (delivered virtually).
  • Invited panelist, “Review of Sara Parks, Women in Q: Gender in the Rhetoric of Jesus (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2019), Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, November 2019.
  • “James the Dramatist.” Invited paper for a conference on the Letter of James in honour of Dr. Oda Wischmeyer, University of Muenster, Germany, August 2019.
  • Invited panelist: Review of the Bible Odyssey website, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, November 2018.
  • Invited panelist: “Review of Richard E. DeMaris, Jason T. Lamoreaux, Steven C. Muir, eds., Early Christian Ritual Life (New York: Routledge, 2017)” at the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting Boston, November, 2018.
  • “Reading Mark through the Lens of Class.” Invited paper for the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Boston, November, 2017.
  • “Early Anabaptist Reception of the Letter of James.” Annual International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, Berlin, Germany, August, 2017
  • André Trocmé interprète du Sermon sur la montagne” André Trocmé: Une figure du protestantisme au 20ème siècle. Geneva, Switzerland, November, 2016.

Recent Public Speaking

  • “Memory, Identity, and the Sermon on the Mount: The Case of André Trocmé.” Annual Benjamin Eby Lecture, Conrad Grebel University College, UWaterloo, October 18th, 2018.
  • Panelist for a discussion of “Original Sin” at the Stratford Forum prior to the premiere of Erin Shields’ adaptation of Paradise Lost for the Stratford Festival, Stratford, ON, August 1st, 2018.
  • "The Relevance of the Historical Jesus." Georgian Triangle Lifelong Learning Institute, Collingwood, ON, February 2018.

Fellowships and Awards:

  • Scholarship for Study at the École biblique, Jerusalem (Canadian Friends of the École biblique, June 2023.)
  • Scholarship from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (German Academic Exchange Service), Germany, July 28, 2021.
  • Research Fellow, 2011-2014 – University of South Africa
  • 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 Grants, Wabash Center, Indiana
  • Joachim Jeremias Graduate Student Essay Prize, Canadian Society of Biblical Studies
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarships