I am a cultural historian of the ancient Mediterranean world, focusing on religion and medicine. My research lies at the intersection between ancient Mediterranean religion and the history of medicine, particularly exploring how therapeutics, medical reasoning, and physiology play central roles in how religious authority is understood and reconceptualized in the late Roman world.

My interests are also connected to (self)representations of authority in the writings of freelance religious experts and physicians. I mainly write about early Christianities, with an emphasis on the broader context of Roman and Late Antique discourses surrounding religous experts and physicians. I also analyze the intersections of sex, gender, and identity as they pertain to ancient physiological and therapeutic models.

My dissertation examines various forms of ancient medical reasoning in the writings of religious experts and physicians during the first four centuries of the Common Era. I focus on the material effects and ideological work that medical metaphors perform. Engaging with cognitive metaphor theory and questions of embodiment, I argue that medical discourse in late ancient religious texts work to support and serve class, gender, and ecclesial distinctions.

I am currently a faculty member at the University of Houston’s Department of Comparative and Cultural Studies, the T. Orman Taylor Teaching Fellow at Rice University’s Department of Religion, Graduate Instructor for Rice’s First Year Writing-Intensive Seminar, and a Graduate Fellow with the Center for Teaching Excellence at Rice. And as of September 2019, I have been named a contributing writer to Synapsis: A Health Humanities Journal.

I teach undergraduate courses in early Christian studies, religous studies, Classical Greek, and ancient Mediterranean history, including a first-year writing seminar called “Medicine, Magic and Miracle: Healing in the Ancient Mediterranean World.”

Previosuly, I served as Lead Copy Editor for Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies and taught at The Women’s Institute of Houston, the Pappas Patristic Institute at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and the Department of Classical and European Studies at Rice.

I earned my M.A. in New Testament and Christian Origins at Duke University. I attended the University of Central Florida as an undergraduate, finishing with a B.A. in Religious Studies, B.A. in Anthropology, and Certificate in Judaic Studies.

I am also a member of the international research group Religion, Medicine, Disability, and Health in Late Antiquity (ReMeDHe). I currently serve as a member of the steering committee for both the Healthcare and Disability in the Ancient World (SBL) and Nag Hammadi and Gnostic Studies (NAPS) section units.

Follow me on Twitter or feel free to contact me at schmidt@rice.edu.