Jeffrey Wickes
Assistant Professor of Early Christianity
Department of Theological Studies
Saint Louis University

I study the literature and theology of the late ancient Christian East. At present, my research deals primarily with the work of Ephrem the Syrian (d. 373 CE), a Syriac poet who wrote over 400 hymns. I am interested in issues of translation related to Ephrem, and have produced an English translation of his longest hymn cycle, the Hymns on Faith (CUA Press, 2015). I have also completed a book manuscript on Ephrem’s literary use of Scripture. This book, tentatively entitled Out of Books, A World: The Representation of Scripture in Ephrem’s Hymns (currently in-review), treats a topic which is of interest to me generally, namely, the way that, in late antiquity, Scripture came to shape Christian literary forms, and the way those literary forms shaped the way Christians thought about Scripture.

I am also interested in Eastern Christian ascetic literature. In future research, I plan to write about the various ways Christians conceived and problematized the ideas of prayer and silence. This project will be structured literarily, looking at the way prayer and silence are conceived, on the one hand, in hymnody (a public, communal genre), and, on the other, in monastic treatises on prayer.

At SLU, beyond research, I enjoy teaching both undergraduates and graduates, in a variety of classes related to Eastern Christianity in late antiquity, Christianity in the Middle East, and the relationship between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the Eastern Mediterranean. (For the specific courses I have taught, see the “Courses I Teach” section of this site.)

I am also happy to be a faculty member affiliated with SLU’s Minor in Middle Eastern Studies (http://www.slu.edu/middle-east-minor). My courses “Christians in the Middle East” (THEO 334) and “Jerusalem: Three Faiths, One City” (THEO 2715) form a portion of the curriculum of this minor.