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Martha G. Newman, Chair BUR 529, Mailcode A3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-7737

Michael Flexsenhar

M.T.S., Vanderbilt University Divinity School

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Biography

Michael Flexsenhar is a Ph.D. student studying New Testament and Christian Origins. He holds a M.A. from The University of Texas at Austin (2013), a M.T.S. from Vanderbilt Univerisity Divinity School (2008), and a B.A. in Religious Studies and Greek and Roman Studies from Rhodes College (2006).

Michael's research focuses on textual and material evidence to reconstruct the social history and religious production of Jewish and Christian communities in the Roman Empire. His interests encompass socio-religious groups, material culture, the matrix of immigration, ethnicity, and diasporas, and the role of social networks in the formation of early Christian congregations. Recent projects include: a study of the manumission of slaves in the Greco-Roman world and the implications for Paul's commmunities; an analysis of 1 Cor 7:21 in relation to rhetoric, Stoicism and moral instruction; an examination of marriage practices and social mobility among slaves, former slaves, and free women in early Christianity; and an investigation of the function and significance of epistolarity in the Hellenistic Jewish writing The Letter of Aristeas.

Michael's dissertation,"Slaves of Christ: Caesar’s Household and the Early Christians," examines literary and epigraphic data to explain the relationships between the familia Caesaris (the Roman emperor’s slaves and former slaves) and early Christian communities from the middle of the first century until the first quarter of the third century.

In the summers, Michael usually participates in archaeological field work on the Ostia synagogue in Ostia, Italy, and conducts research in Rome and its environs.

Michael is a David Bruton Jr. Fellow.

Interests

Christian Origins | Jewish and Christian Social History | Slaves and Freedpersons in the Roman World | Roman Imperial Cults | Socio-Religious Groups in the Ancient Mediterranean
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