virginia burrus
professor of early church history
chair of the graduate division of religion
drew university
mailing address
The Theological School, Drew University
36 Madison Avenue
Madison, NJ 07940
973 408 3099


    Virginia Burrus, a native of Texas, received her B.A. (1981) in Classical Civilization from Yale College, her M.A. (1984) and Ph.D. (1991) in History of Christianity from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She has taught in Drew University's Theological School and Graduate Division of Religion since 1991. Dr. Burrus's teaching and research interests in the field of ancient Christianity include: gender, sexuality, and the body; martyrdom and asceticism; ancient novels and hagiography; constructions of orthodoxy and heresy; histories of theology and historical theologies. She is past President of the North American Patristics Society, Associate Editor of the Journal of Early Christian Studies, and co-editor of the University of Pennsylvania Press series "Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion."



Seducing Augustine: Bodies, Desires, Confessions. New York: Fordham University Press, 2010. Co-author with Mark Jordan and Karmen MacKendrick.

Saving Shame: Martyrs, Saints, and Other Abject Subjects. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.

Toward a Theology of Eros: Transfiguring Passion at the Limits of Discipline. New York: Fordham University Press, 2006. Co-editor with Catherine Keller.

Late Ancient Christianity: A People's History of Christianity, Volume II. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005. Editor.

The Sex Lives of Saints: An Erotics of Ancient Hagiography. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.

French translation: La vie sexuelle des saints: L'art erotique de l'hagiographie ancienne, trans. Elsa Boyer. Montrouge, France: Bayard, 2011.

Italian translation: La vita erotica dei Santi, trans. Marta Albertella. Genova, Italy: Il Melangolo, 2011.

"Begotten, Not Made": Conceiving Manhood in Late Antiquity. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000.

The Making of a Heretic: Gender, Authority, and the Priscillianist Controversy. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

Chastity as Autonomy: Women in Stories of Apocryphal Acts. Lewiston & Queenston: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1987.



"Wyschogrod's Hand: Saints, Animality, and the Labor of Love." Philosophy Today (Winter 2011): 412-421.

"Seeing God in Bodies: Wolfson, Rosenzweig, Augustine." Reading the Church Fathers, ed. Scot Douglass and Morwenna Ludlow. London: T&T Clark, 2011). Pages 44-59, 176-79.

"2010 NAPS Presidential Address: 'Fleeing the Uxorious Kingdom': Augustine's Queer Theology of Marriage." Journal of Early Christian Studies 19 (2011): 1-20. 

“A Saint of One’s Own: Emmanuel Levinas, Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, and Eulalia of Mérida.” Sanctity, ed. Cary Howie, L'Esprit Créateur 50 (2010): 6-20. 

“Carnal Excess: Flesh at the Limits of Imagination.”  Journal of Early Christian Studies 17 (2009): 247-265

"Torture and Travail: Producing the Christian Martyr." A Feminist Companion to Patristic Literature, ed. Amy-Jill Levine and Maria Mayo Robbins. London: T&T Clark, 2008. Pages 56-71.

"The Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles." A Postoclonial Commentary on the New Testament Writings, ed. Fernando F. Segovia and R. S. Sugirtharajah. London: T&T Clark, 2007. Pages 133-155.

"Confessing Monica." Feminist Interpretations of Augustine, ed. Judith Chelius Stark. University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State Press, 2007. Pages 119-145. Co-authored with Catherine Keller.

"Queer Father: Gregory of Nyssa and the Subversion of Identity." Queer Theology: Rethinking the Western Body, ed. Gerard Loughlin. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2007. Pages 147-62.

"Mapping as Metamorphosis: Initial Reflections on Gender and Ancient Religious Discourse." Mapping Gender in Ancient Religious Discourse, ed. Todd Penner and Caroline Vander Stichele. Leidon: E.J. Brill, 2006.

"Introduction: Theology and Eros after Nygren." Toward a Theology of Eros: Transfiguring Passion at the Limits of Discipline, ed. Virginia Burrus and Catherine Keller. New York: Fordham University Press, 2006. Pages xiii-xxi.

"Praying is Joying: Musings on Love in Evagrius Ponticus." Toward a Theology of Eros: Transfiguring Passion at the Limits of Discipline, ed. Virginia Burrus and Catherine Keller. New York: Fordham University Press, 2006. Pages 194-204.

"Feminist Religious History: Roundtable Discussion." Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 22 (2006): 53-59.

"Radical Orthodoxy and the Heresiological Habit: Engaging Graham Ward's Christology." Interpreting the Postmodern, ed. Marion Grau and Rosemary Radford Ruether. Continuum/T&T Clark, 2006. Pages 36-53.

"Life After Death: The Martyrdom of Gorgonia and the Birth of Female Hagiography." Gregory of Nazianzus: Images and Reflections, ed. Jostein Bortnes and Tomas Hagg. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2006. Pages 153-70.

"Elizabeth Clark's History, Theory, Text: A (Somewhat) Confessional Reading." Church History 74 (2005): 812-816.

"Hybridity as the Subversion of Orthodoxy? Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity." Beyond Syncretism: Rethinking Religious Hybridity, ed. Otto Maduro and Meredith McGuire. Social Compass 52 (2005): 431-41. Co-authored with Daniel Boyarin.

"Introduction: Shifting the Focus of History." Late Ancient Christianity: A People's History of Christianity, Volume 2, ed. Virginia Burrus. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005. Co-authored with Rebecca Lyman.

"Mimicking Virgins: Colonial Ambivalence and the Ancient Romance." Arethusa 38 (2005): 49-88.

"Creatio ex libidine: Reading Ancient Logos Differantly." Derrida and Religion: Other Testaments, ed. Kevin Hart and Yvonne Sherwood. London: Routledge, 2005. Pages 141-56.

"Pollution and Purity, Sin and Absolution: Christianity." Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide, ed. Sarah Iles Johnston. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004. Pages 511-13.

"Afterword to ‘Household Management and Women's Authority." The Feminist Companion to the Acts of the Apostles, ed. Amy-Jill Levine with Marianne Blickenstaff. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic Press, 2004. Pages 171-76. Co-authored with Karen J. Torjesen.

"Macrina's Tattoo." Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 33 (2003) 403-417. This essay also appears in The Cultural Turn in Late Ancient Studies: Gender, Asceticism, and Historiography, ed. Dale B. Martin and Patricia Cox Miller. Duke University Press, 2005.

"Unsafe Sex: Feminism, Pornography, and the Song of Songs." Biblical Interpretations 11 (2003) 24-52. Co-authored with Stephen Moore.

"Performing Sadomasochism in the Song of Songs." Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory 25 (2002) 129-146. Co-authored with Stephen Moore.

"Hailing Zenobia: Anti-Judaism, Trinitarianism, and John Henry Newman." Culture and Religion 3 (2002) 163-77.

"Revelation Revealed or Reveiled? 'Jewish' and 'Christian' Interpretation in Late Antiquity." Textual Reasonings, ed. Peter Ochs and Nancy Levene. London: SCM Press, 2002. Pages 76-81.

"Queer Lives of Saints: Jerome's Hagiography." Journal of History of Sexuality 10 (2001) 442-479.

"Is Macrina a Woman? Gregory of Nyssa's Dialogue on the Soul and the Resurrection." The Companion to Postmodern Theology, ed. Graham Ward. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2001. Pages 249-264.

"Orthodoxy, Subjectivity, and Institutionalization." Orthodoxie, christianisme, histoire:Orthodoxy, Christianity, history, ed. Susanna Elm, Eric Rebillard, Antonella Romano. Rome: Ecole francaise de Rome, 2000. Pages 356-360.

"Spanish Correspondence: Translation and Introduction." Religions of Late Antiquity in Practice, ed. Richard Valantasis. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000. Co-authored wth Tracy Keefer. Pages 330-339.

"Priscillianism." Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World, ed. G.W. Bowersock, Peter Brown, Oleg Grabar. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 1999.  Pages 652-653.

"An Immoderate Feast: Augustine Reads John's Apocalypse." History, Apocalypse, and the Secular Imagination: New Essays on Augustine's City of God, ed. Mark Vessey, Karla Pollmann, and Allan D. Fitzgerald, O.S.A. Bowling Green, Ohio: Philosophy Documentation Center, 1999. Pages 183-194. (This collection of essays is also available in Augustinian Studies 30.2).

"'In the Theater of this Life': the Performance of Orthodoxy in Late Antiquity." The Limits of Ancient Christianity: Essays on Late Antique Thought and Culture in Honor of R.A. Markus, ed. William Kingshirn and Mark Vessey. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999. Pages 80-96.

"Resistance by the Book? Some Questions in Response." Semeia 79 (1997) 93-96.

"Priscillianist Duplicity Reconsidered." Studia Patristica 33 (1997) 401-406.

"'Equipped For Victory': Ambrose and the Gendering of Orthodoxy." Journal of Early Christian Studies 4 (1996) 461-475.

"Reading Agnes: The Rhetoric of Gender in Ambrose and Prudentius." Journal of Early Christian Studies 3 (1995) 25-46.

"Word and Flesh: The Bodies and Sexuality of Ascetic Women in Christian Antiquity." Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 10 (1994) 27-51.

"Ascesis, Authority, and Text: The Acts of the Council of Saragossa." Semeia 58 (1992) 95-108.

"Blurring the Boundaries: A Response to Howard C. Kee." Theology Today 49.2 (1992) 239-242.

"The Heretical Woman as Symbol in Alexander, Athanasius, Epiphanius, and Jerome." Harvard Theological Review 84.3 (1991) 229-248.

"The Story of Mygdonia and Tertia from the Acts of Thomas: Introduction and Translation." In Ascetic Behavior in Greco-Roman Antiquity: A Sourcebook, ed. Vincent L. Wimbush. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990. Pages 370-386. Co-authored with Karen Torjesen.

"Rhetorical Stereotypes in the Portrait of Paul of Samosata." Vigiliae Christianae 43 (1989) 215-225.

"Hierarchicalization and Genderization of Leadership in the Writings of Irenaeus." Studia Patristica 21 (1989) 42-48.

"Chastity as Autonomy: Women in the Stories of Apocryphal Acts." Semeia 38 (1986) 101-117.