Todd S. Berzon

Assistant Professor of Religion

Teaching this semester

REL 1101. Introduction to the Study of Religion

Todd Berzon
Basic concepts, methods, and issues in the study of religion, with special reference to examples comparing and contrasting Asian and Western religions. Lectures, films, discussions, and readings in a variety of texts such as scriptures, novels, and autobiographies, along with modern interpretations of religion in ancient and contemporary Asian and Western contexts..

REL 2239. Judaism in the Age of Empires

Todd Berzon
How did the Hellenistic, Roman, and Christian empires shape Jewish history? Investigates how ancient Judaism and Jewish society materialized under the successive rule of ancient empires. Analyzes both how the Jews existed as a part of and yet apart from the culture, religion, and laws of their imperial rulers. Readings include a cross-section of literature from antiquity--including the books of the Maccabees, the writings of Flavius Josephus and Philo of Alexandria, the New Testament, the Dead Sea Scrolls, apocalyptic literature, the “Mishnah,” and early Christian anti-Jewish polemic--to understand the process by which the Jews created Judaism as a religion in opposition to Christianity and Greco-Roman traditions.

Todd Berzon is a specialist in the religions of late antiquity, early Christianity, and theory and method in the study of religion. He is especially interested in how ancient religious communities that viewed themselves as distinct (orthodox/heterodox, Jewish/Christian, etc.) articulated and negotiated perceived differences. His teaching focuses on religion in the ancient world, and includes courses on the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, Human Sacrifice, and Gender and Sexuality in Early Christianity. His current research project, entitled Holy Tongues: The Materiality of Language in the Religious World of Late Antiquity, investigates how Jews and Christians treated language as a marker of both piety and impiety.


  • Ph.D., Columbia University
  • M.Phil , Columbia University
  • M.A., Columbia University
  • B.A., Columbia University


Classifying Christians: Ethnography, Heresiology, and the Limits of Knowledge in Late AntiquityClassifying Christians: Ethnography, Heresiology, and the Limits of Knowledge in Late Antiquity. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 20016

Articles and Essays

“Heresiology as Ethnography: Theorising Christian Difference,” in Religious Competition in the Third Century C.E.: Jews, Christians, and the Greco-Roman Worlds, ed. Nathaniel P. DesRosiers, Jordan D. Rosenblum, and Lily C. Vuong. Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2014, 180–92.

“The Double Bind of Christianity’s Judaism: Language, Law, and the Incoherence of Late Antique Discourse.” Journal of Early Christian Studies 23.3 (2015): 445–80.

“Known Knowns and Known Unknowns: Epiphanius of Salamis and the Limits of Heresiology.” Harvard Theological Review 109.1 (2016): 75–101.

“‘O, Foolish Galatians’: Imagining Pauline Community in Late Antiquity.” Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture, forthcoming

Reviews and Review Essays

Lance Jenott and Sarit Kattan Gribetz, eds., Jewish and Christian Cosmogony in Late Antiquity. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013. Bryn Mawr Classical Review. 10.12.14.

Kyle Harper, From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012. The Classical Journal 2.6.2014.

Dominic J. Unger, ed., trans., comm., St. Irenaeus of Lyons: Against the heresies, Book 2. Ancient Christian Writers 65. Mahwah, NJ: Newman Press, 2012. Bryn Mawr Classical Review 12.12.12. 

“The Problem with Identity in Late Antiquity.” Review of Aaron P. Johnson, Religion and Identity in Porphyry of Tyre: The Limits of Hellenism in Late Antiquity. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Marginalia Review of Books:

“Why Isn’t the Rhetorical Real? The Case of Epiphanius of Cyprus.” Review of Young Richard Kim’s, Epiphanius of Cyprus: Imagining an Orthodox World. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2015. Marginalia Review of Books: