Dr. Robert von Thaden, Jr. is a Professor of Religious Studies at Mercyhurst University who specializes in biblical and other sacred texts. He trained as a biblical scholar under Vernon K. Robbins at Emory University and uses Robbins’s sociorhetorical interpretive analytic to perform his textual interpretations. In that role, he is one of the associate editors of the Emory Studies in Early Christianity book series (SBL Press). Sociorhetorical reading of texts invites us to see the vast web of interconnections found in the rhetorical worlds of religious texts. It also invites us to pay attention to how people use texts throughout history as they practice and live out religious worlds. Dr. von Thaden researches and writes about bodies, sex, and gender in early Jewish and Christian texts and how these texts are creatively reused by multiple religious traditions, children in biblical texts, religion in American culture, and apocalyptic imagery. He is currently working on a commentary on Paul’s letter to the Galatians with the working title of Exploring Galatians: Jewish God, Pagan Bodies. At Mercyhurst he teaches a wide range of courses about religious texts and traditions from antiquity to the contemporary period. Some of his favorite classes to teach are Sacred Texts, American Religion, Death & Dying, and Apocalypse to Zombie.
Dr. von Thaden at graduation 2023 with Dr. Ehret and Dr. Pyne. Dr. von Thaden is also the Program Coordinator for the Exploratory Studies program, which guides students who are not yet ready to declare a major through the process of seeing all their education has to offer.