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

Michael Flexsenhar

M.A., The University of Texas at Austin



Michael Flexsenhar is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate. He holds a M.A. from The University of Texas at Austin (2013), a M.T.S. from Vanderbilt University 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 slavery, 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 communities; an analysis of 1 Cor 7:21 in relation to rhetoric, Stoic moral instruction, and social history; 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.

His dissertation, "Slaves of Christ: Caesar’s Household and the Early Christians," examines the relationships between early Christian communities and the Roman emperor’s slaves and former slaves from the middle of the first century until the first quarter of the third century. The project utilizes insights from cultural geography to explain how these relationships were both historical and imaginary, and how they cultivated a history, geography, and ethnogenesis for early Christians.

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

Michael is a former David Bruton Jr. Fellow.


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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