Portrait image of Robert von Thaden
Robert von Thaden


Contact Information

OFFICE: Preston 209
PHONE: 814-824-2184

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.

About Dr. Robert von Thaden, Jr.
    • Ph.D. Emory University, New Testament & Early Christianity
    • M.A. University of Chicago, Religious Studies
    • B.A.  Muhlenberg College, Religion/German
    • What Is Religion?
    • Sacred Texts
    • Judaism
    • Christianity
    • New Testament & Christian Origins
    • Women & Scripture
    • Desert Mothers and Fathers
    • Death & Dying
    • Apocalypse to Zombie
    • Religious Studies Seminar
    • Senior Thesis
    • Bodies, Sex, and Gender in early Judaism and Christianity
    • Children in biblical worlds
    • Paul’s letters in the New Testament
    • Apocalypticism
    • American Religion
    • Mormon Scripture
    • Cognitive Linguistics/Cognitive Science of Religion
    • Society of Biblical Literature
    • Rhetoric of Religious Antiquity Working Group
    • Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (External Member) 
    • Catholic Biblical Association of America
    • North American Patristics Society 
    • North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature
    • New Testament/Christian Origins Field Editor: Advances in Ancient, Biblical, and Near Eastern Research, 2019-Present.
    • New Testament Editor: Conversations with the Biblical World: Proceedings of the Eastern Great Lakes Biblical Society & Midwest Region Society of Biblical Literature, 2018-2022.
    • Associate Editor: Emory Studies in Early Christianity. Atlanta: SBL Press. Volumes 13 and following.
    • “Sexual Immorality (Word Study),” n.p. Bible Odyssey (2023). Online: https://bibleodyssey.org/passages/related-articles/sexual-immorality/
    • “Procreation, Children, and Family.” Pages 539-56 in The Handbook of New Testament, Gender, and Sexuality. Edited by Benjamin H. Dunning. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.
    • “Children in the New Testament,” n.p. Bible Odyssey (2018). Online: https://www.bibleodyssey.org:443/passages/related-articles/children-in-the-new-testament
    • Sex, Christ, and Embodied Cognition: Paul’s Wisdom for Corinth. Emory Studies in Early Christianity 16. Blandford Forum, Dorset, UK: Deo Publishing, 2012. Repr. Atlanta: SBL Press, 2017.
    • “Apocalyptic America: Buying the End Time.” Pages 405-37 in Apocalypses in Context: Apocalyptic Currents Throughout History. Edited by Kelly J. Murphy and Justin P. Jeffcoat Schedtler. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2016.
    • Vernon K. Robbins, Robert H. von Thaden Jr., & Bart B. Bruehler, eds. Foundations for Sociorhetorical Exploration: A Rhetoric of Religious Antiquity Reader. Rhetoric of Religious Antiquity 4. Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016.
    • “Digging Down and Reaching Out: A Story of Biblical Scholarship in the Twenty-First Century.” Expositions: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities 9 (2015): 106-113.
    • “‘We Will All Be Changed’: Apocalyptic Transformation of Christ Believing Bodies.” Paper 
    • presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. Denver, CO. November 20, 2018.
    • “Rhetorical Children in Galatians: Metaphor, Affect, and Persuasion.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the European Association of Biblical Studies. Helsinki, Finland. July 31, 2018.
    • “Families, Children, and Askesis: Framing Christ-Believing Bodies.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. Atlanta, GA. November 2015.

    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.

    faculty in commencement regalia