I joined Princeton’s program in the Religions of Mediterranean Antiquity in 2014 after receiving a MAR in the History of Christianity from Yale Divinity School and degrees in Religious Studies and Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For the 2018-9 academic year I am in residence at the American Academy in Rome as the Paul Mellon/Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize winner. My interests cluster around elite Christians in the later Roman Empire, book historical approaches to cultural change, legal history, and the legislation of “orthodoxy” in Late Antiquity.
My dissertation, titled “Christianizing Knowledge: A New Order of Books in the Theodosian Age”, traces changes to documentary practice and readerly expectations across elite technical literature from the late fourth through the middle of the fifth century CE. In it, I bring together Roman legal sources, “patristic” theological tractates, conciliar acta, and the emergence of the genre of Talmud to demonstrate convergences between these corpora on a structural level, and to argue that jurists, bishops, and rabbis approached their task of commentary and codification with analogous prejudices and expectations about what documents are, what they do, and how they are to be used. This project approaches the question of “Christianization” beyond a Sunday morning headcount, examining the effect of Christianity on structures of knowledge in the later Roman empire.
I am co-director of the Solomon’s Pools Archaeological Project, as well as a field archaeologist with the Jezreel Valley Regional Project, where I focus on excavation of the Roman 6th Legion “Ferrata” castra in Legio, Israel.
- Letteney, Mark, and Matthew D. C. Larsen. “Christians and the Codex: Generic Materiality and Early Gospel Traditions.”Journal of Early Christian Studies
27, no. 3 (Forthcoming 2019).
- Letteney, Mark, and Matthew J. Adams. “Solomon’s Pools Archaeological Project: A Preliminary Report on the Lower Pool.” Palestinian Expedition Quarterly 151 (Forthcoming 2019).
- Letteney, Mark, and AJ Berkovitz, eds. Rethinking ‘Authority’ in Late Antiquity: Authorship, Law, and Transmission in Jewish and Christian Tradition. London: Routledge, 2018.
- Letteney, Mark, and AJ Berkovitz. “Authority in contemporary historiography.” In Rethinking ‘Authority’ in Late Antiquity: Authorship, Law, and Transmission in Jewish and Christian Tradition, 1-16. London: Routledge, 2018.
- Letteney, Mark. “Authenticity and authority: the case for dismantling a dubious correlation.” In Rethinking ‘Authority’ in Late Antiquity: Authorship, Law, and Transmission in Jewish and Christian Tradition, 33-56. London: Routledge, 2018.
- Letteney, Mark. “Review of Uta Heil and Annette von Stockhausen (eds.), Die Synoden im trinitarischen Streit: Über die Etablierung eines synodalen Verfahrens und die Probleme seiner Anwendung im 4. und 5. Jahrhundert.” Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2018.03.5
- Letteney, Mark. “Review of Noel Lenski, Constantine and the Cities: Imperial Authority and Civic Politics.” Ancient Jew Review (2017).
- Letteney, Mark. “Toward a New Scribal Tendency: Reciprocal Corruptions and the Text of 1 Corinthians 8:2–3.” Journal of Biblical Literature 135, no. 2 (2016): 391-404.