Margaret M. Mitchell

Shailer Mathews Distinguished Service Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature; also in the College

MA, PhD (University of Chicago)

Margaret M. Mitchell is a literary historian of ancient Christianity. Her research and teaching span a range of topics in New Testament and early Christian writings up through the end of the fourth century. She analyzes how the earliest Christians literally wrote their way into history, developing a literary and religious culture that was deeply embedded in Hellenistic Judaism and the wider Greco-Roman world, while also proclaiming its distinctiveness from each. Special interests include the Pauline letters (both in their inaugural moments and in the history of their effects), the poetics and politics of ancient biblical interpretation, and the intersection of text, image, and artifact in the fashioning of early Christian culture.

Prof. Mitchell is the author of four books: Paul and the Rhetoric of Reconciliation (1991); The Heavenly Trumpet: John Chrysostom and the Art of Pauline Interpretation (2000); The “Belly-Myther” of Endor: Interpretations of 1 Kingdoms 28 in the Early Church (with Rowan A. Greer, 2007), and Paul, the Corinthians and the Birth of Christian Hermeneutics (2010).  The first volume of her collected essays, Paul and the Emergence of Christian Textuality: Early Christian Literary Culture in Context, appeared in autumn, 2017.  She is also the coeditor of two volumes, including, with Frances M. Young, The Cambridge History of Christianity, Volume 1: Origins to Constantine (2006).  Prof. Mitchell is currently completing a volume, John Chrysostom on Paul: Praises and Problem Passages, to be published in the Writings from the Greco-Roman World series (Society of Biblical Literature), and, among other projects, engaging in research on the newly discovered Greek homilies on the Psalms by Origen of Alexandria. 

Prof. Mitchell’s research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Luce, Mellon and Guggenheim foundations.  She is an elected member of Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, l’Association internationale d’études patristiques, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  


Select work: 

"The Abercius Inscription"

If you experience any technical difficulties with this video or would like to make an accessibility-related request, please send a message to

"Archaic Mark: A Remarkable Manuscript Treasure or a Modern-Day Counterfeit?"

If you experience any technical difficulties with this video or would like to make an accessibility-related request, please send a message to

Swift 204B

Current and Upcoming Courses
  • Colloquium on Ancient Christianity
  • The Controversial Apostle
  • Early Christian Rhetoric
  • Introduction to the New Testament

Curriculum Vitae 

Prof. Mitchell will be teaching in Fall of 2019 and on leave in calendar year 2020.