Doctoral students

University of Helsinki

Inka Nokso-Koivisto
Inka Nokso-Koivisto's PhD-study "Man as the Microcosm in Islamic Thought" examines the cosmological significance of the idea of man as the microcosm in early Islamic esoteric tradition. The Islamic microcosm-macrocosm analogy forms a combination of the previous philosophical and theological interpretations of the idea and it is connected with various religious and Qur'anic themes, such as the dichotomy between the material and spiritual, human being?s position among the created and the concept of human perfection. The study corpus consists of texts pertaining to early Islamic Hermetic tradition, which had great influence in the later development of Islamic mysticism.

Janne Mattila
The subject of Janne Mattila’s Ph.D. thesis is attainment of happiness in 10th-11th century Islamic philosophy. The investigation focuses around the religious dimension of Medieval philosophy, that is the idea of philosophy as a spiritual road leading towards ultimate happiness and salvation in the afterlife. This involves in particular the philosophical and religious practices that the philosophical discipline should adopt in order to ascend from material to spiritual reality.

Maria Pakkala
Maria Pakkala is studying the position of Jews and Christians in Quran through textual analysis. She tries to shed light on the development of the relationship of both the Qur’ānic and the Hadīth texts with Jews and Christians.

Riikka Tuori
Riikka Tuori’s study will examine the use of early rabbinic sources in Hebrew religious poetry written by the Karaites. Karaite Judaism emerged in the ninth-century Iraq, when various groups of dissidents opted not to succumb to rabbinic religious authority. The resistance of these clusters, soon to be crystallized as Karaism, was most pronounced in its denial of the authority of the Oral Torah, that is, the Mishna and Talmud. Despite their firm scripturalist stance and fierce criticism of rabbinic additions to the Pentateuch, the Karaites did not avoid using rabbinic sources in their literature. Quite the contrary, earlier research has shown that they were exceptionally well versed in it. How and to what extent is this eruditeness reflected in their religious poetry? The corpus for the study is drawn from Karaite Siddurim, and the rabbinic sources surveyed include, inter alia, Palestinian piyyutim from the fourth till sixth centuries (rabbinic liturgical embellishments), Mishnaic Hebrew elements, and early mystical literature (e.g. Sefer yetsira).

Susanna Asikainen
The masculinity of Jesus

Risto Auvinen
Philo and Valentinian traditions

Mika Hynninen

The Gospel of Peter

Kennet Liljeström

2. Thessalonians

Perttu Nikander

The two-way teaching in Didache

Timo Paananen

The Secret Gospel of Mark

Mika Pajunen

Collections of Apocryphal Psalms from Qumran

Nina Pehkonen

The opponents in Paul's letter to Philippians

Kaisa-Maria Pihlava
Women heads of household in early house churches

Pia Saloranta
The Gospel of Judas

Kirsi Siitonen
Merchants in early Christian texts

Hanna Tervanotko

The Figure of Miriam in ancient Jewish Literature

Elisa Uusimäki


Hanna Vanonen

War and violence in the war texts of Qumran;

Päivi Vähäkangas

Attitude to philosophy in Eugnostos and Pseudo-Clementines

Top of page


Aarhus University

Uffe Holmsgaard Eriksen
The focus of Uffe Holmsgaard Eriksen’s project is the use of drama as an expression of theology in homilies in late antiquity and early Byzantium.  The core material will be close readings of the kontakia of Romanos the Melodist (6th Century) with special attention paid to their dramatic and poetic elements.

Thorsten Rørbæk
The aim of Thorsten Rørbæk’s project is to compose a systematic theological study of the accounts of healing in the times of the Church Fathers, mainly focusing on Basil of Caesarea (c330-79) and Augustine of Hippo (354-430). More specifically, the project intends to expose the significance and function of the phenomenon of healing accounts in the early Christian context, for instance in congregations and other forums for such events.

René Falkenberg
René Falkenberg’s PhD project aims at the study of four special texts from Nag Hammadi, which all deal with the relationship between Adam and Christ, echoing the Adam-Christ typology well-known from the Pauline epistles (e.g. Romans 5 and First Corinthians 15). Focus of the project is anthropology. The project will detect and describe motifs connected to the Adam and Christ figures in the four Nag Hammadi scriptures in order to study the anthropology found in communities that used and read these texts.

Robert Bonde Hansen
During the last thirty years or so, it has gradually become clear that the search for the liturgies of the earliest Christian community has been in vain. It has also become clear that any similarities between different liturgies should not be attributed to their common origin, but rather to a process which slowly but surely standardised the liturgies of the church and eliminated various local peculiarities.

It is the aim of Robert Bonde Hansen’s project to investigate whether there is a common theology behind this drive for unity, more specifically whether there is a common understanding of the theology of the Eucharistic and baptismal rites of the 2nd century.

Erin J. Wright
The focus of Erin J. Wright’s project is the literary development of Gospel genre in early Christianity, with particular emphasis on the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Thomas . Owing to the differing structures of the two texts ( John being a narrative, and Thomas a list of 114 sayings of Jesus), the basis for comparison is the “speaking Jesus.” Thus,the project will explore how the sayings material in Thomas constitutes the Gospel in terms of genre, and, conversely, how John arranges his Gospel by building long speeches.

Top of page


University of Copenhagen

Anne Katrine Hemmer de Gudme
My dissertation topic is votive practice in the Hebrew Bible and in the eastern Mediterranean in the Persian and Hellenistic period. My main areas of interest are ritual studies, gift giving theory and Semitic dedicatory and funerary inscriptions.

Anne Vig Skoven
I am working with the question of a possible connection between the Gospel of Mark and Paul/the Pauline letters, which has been raised a couple of times during the last 150 years. Could Mark be the narrative version of the Pauline gospel, that is - a story probably based on other traditions, but told and framed in a Pauline way? Anyway - why write a story, why not just stay with the oral gospel and the discourse of the letter?

Kasper Dalgaard
The subject of Kasper Dalgaard's Ph.D. thesis is an examination of the figure of Melchizedek from its earliest sources to the end of antiquity. He aims to shed light on the issues of why and how this figure was reinterpreted in the various textual traditions as well as how the traditions concerning Melchizedek evolved during the centuries.

Top of page

Lund University

Thomas Arentzen
Project: The 5th and 6th centuries are central to the study of an emerging Marian cult in the Christian Church and the development of Marian imagery. Thomas Arentzen's research focuses on Mariology and representations of the Theotokos in Greek Hymnography; he works on a dissertation on the figure of the Virgin in the dramatic hymns of Romanos the Melodist from the Justinian era.

Johanna Broselid
Project on the emergence of eucharistic rite of the Church and its modern interpreters.

Dan Nässelqvist
The overall aim of Dan Nässelqvist's thesis is to render as clear a picture as is possible of how the Gospel of John might have been delivered when it was received by the congregations. Working with both oral and written dimensions of this issue, the intent is to chart the conventions of the oral act of delivering texts in the Greek and Roman antiquity and investigate what they imply when it comes to the delivery and aural reception of New Testament texts. An issue of vital importance to the thesis is to understand the rhetorical conventions (in relations to delivery) of the Greek and Roman society of the first century CE. The primary sources, for this part, are the rhetorical treatises, although other material (e.g. letters and novels) that describe or comment on performances will be used.

Andreas Westergren
The Holy Man as Symbol of the Church in the writings of Theodoret of Cyrrhus (mid-fifth century).

Top of page

University of Iceland

Helgi Gudjonsson
Jewish Legal Traditions from the Perspective of Hellenistic Rhetorical Device
The impact of Alexander the Great (356-323 f. Kr.) upon Jewish education is sometimes being contested. This project is dedicated to the impact Hellenistic rhetorical education had on early Jewish or rabbinic traditions. Special emphasis is paid to the influence books on rhetorical training from around the turn of the calendar had on Halakic traditions from the perspective of argumentative elaborations.

Kristinn Snaevar Jonsson
Knowledge in the Gospel of Truth and the Question of Belief
This research is based on an approach developed by historian of world religions Jonathan Z. Smith on the interaction of social formation and the making of (religious) myths. The project looks into various Nag Hammadi sources for analyzing the relations between knowledge and belief. In particular, it looks into the Valentinian Gospel of Truth and how this major text of the Valentinian tradition compares to other Nag Hammadi writings on the said topic.

Magnus Erlingsson
The Gospel of Mary: Dialogue and Dsicipleship in the Light of the Resurrection
This study deals with the placement of dialogue gospels in the early Christian literary development. For this end the study takes into consideration three dialogue texts: The Gospel of Mary, the Dialogue of the Savior and the Book of Thomas. The project, further, concentrates on the issue of discipleship in the Gospel of Mary and how dialogue and resurrection are used for portraying discipleship of a female over against that of a male.

Olafur Thorission
The Revisiting of Albert Schweitzer from the Perspective of Micro History and World Religious
Albert Schweitzer has long been known to his fans around the world from his autobiography and published personal letters. This project takes on the challenge of Micro History for looking into the selfportraits contained in these sources as well as for drawing a daring new picture of Schweitzer with the help of Micro History. The research focuses on the calling of Schweizer over against his encounter with world religions.

Sigurvin Jonsson
Image of Masculinity: The Persona of James in Early Christian Literature
This project takes its point of departure in a study of personification in the ancient novel in Greece and Rome. Its sepcial focus is on the persona of James in Early Christian literature but in particular the Pseudo-Clementine correspondance. Applying contemporary gender studies for analyzing the persona of James, the project proceeds to viewing the leadership role of James from different gender models.

Top of page