Matthew Chalmers

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PhD Candidate

Matt Chalmers received his BA and MPhil from the University of Oxford (2008-2013), before jumping ship to the University of Pennsylvania in 2013 to work with Prof. Annette Yoshiko Reed. His interests transect late antiquity, intellectual history, and Religious Studies, with particular interests in historiography, heresiology, and the manufacture of identities through the control of the past. In his dissertation, he explores often overlooked representations of Samaritans in early Christian and Jewish sources, both mobilizing underused parts of our late antique archive and interrogating scholarly patterns of selectivity when ordering an archive for discussing religious difference. Most recently, he presented a related paper entitled “Rethinking the Samaritan-Jewish “Schism”: or, Is Thinking about Partings the Only Way to Think about Difference in the Study of Ancient Jews” at the Regional Seminar for Ancient Judaism 2017 (NYU), experimenting with reading ancient Jewish mentions of Samaritans having suspended a search for schism often characteristic of our approaches to the material.

Research and Teaching Interests: 

His teaching experience includes classes in Ancient History, New Testament, and Religious Studies, as well as guest lectures in classes on Death and the Afterlife (Penn) and Religion and Animals (Haverford). A former co-chair of the Philadelphia Seminar of Christian Origins (2014/15), he also works as an Information Specialist at the Kislak Center for Rare Books and Manuscripts on an NEH-funded project digitalizing Indic manuscripts (2014-2017). He recently finished work as the English-language editor of a new edition of the Samaritan midrashic collection Tebat Marqe, a project headed by Abraham Tal (Tel Aviv) and Stefan Schorch (Halle). In his spare time, he entertains interests (sometimes) related to the accumulation of knowledge, occasionally writes for blogs (see forthcoming pieces on the Journal of the History of Ideas blog and in a Marginalia (LARB) forum), bakes tasty food, and has a penchant for scarves.

Twitter: @Matt_J_Chalmers

Selected Publications: 

“Seeking as Suckling: The Rationale behind Clement of Alexandria’s Language of the Milk of the Father in Paedagogus I.6," Studia Patristica 72 (2014): 59-74