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Patricia Cox Miller

Patricia Cox Miller

Patricia Cox Miller

The (Bishop) W. Earl Ledden Professor Emerita


501 Hall of Languages

Research and Teaching Interests

Professor Miller focuses her teaching on religious traditions in classical and Greco-Roman antiquity. In her research she deals more particularly with the religious imagination in late antiquity in Gnostic, Neoplatonic, and early Christian traditions. Her books include Biography in Late Antiquity: A Quest for the Holy Man (1983), Dreams in Late Antiquity (1994), and The Poetry of Thought in Late Antiquity: Essays in Imagination and Religion (2001). She is currently working on a book on religion and aesthetics in late antiquity. Dr. Miller, who joined the Syracuse faculty in 1977, received an NEH fellowship in 1983.
Visit Professor Miller's homepage.


REL 205 Ancient Greek Religion
REL 206 Greco-Roman Religion
REL 309 Early Christianities
REL 602 Gnosticism
REL 605 Religion and the Body in Late Antiquity
REL 640 Philosophical Foundations of Religion

  • Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1979 Field: Religion in Late Antiquity
  • M.A., University of Chicago, 1972 Field: History of Christianity
  • B.A., Mary Washington College of Univ. of Virginia, 1969 Field: History (Cum Laude)
  • Year of Special Study, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, 1969-70

Bishop W. Earl Ledden Professor, Department of Religion, Syracuse University, 1977-present.

Book Chapters
  • Adam, Eve, and the Elephants: Asceticism and Animality in Late Ancient Christianity,” forthcoming in Ascetic Culture: Essays in Honor of Philip Rousseau, ed. Blake Leyerle and Robin Darling Young (University of Notre Dame Press, 2010).
  • “Subtle Embodiments: Imagining the Holy in Late Antiquity,” in Apophatic Bodies: Infinity, Ethics, and Incarnation, Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquium 6, ed. Catherine Keller and Christopher Boesel (New York: Fordham University Press, 2009), 45-58, 377-81.
  • “’Intricate Evasions of As’: History, Imagination, and Saint Basil’s Crab,” in Disturbances in the Field: Essays in Honor of David L. Miller, ed. Christine Downing (New Orleans: Spring Journal Books, 2006), 179-91.
  • “Asceticism: Visual Implications,” in Art, Archaeology, and Architecture of Early Christianity, ed. Paul Corby Finney, (Eerdmans).
  • “Strategies of Representation in Collective Biography: Constructing the Subject as Holy,” in Greek Biography and Panegyrics in Late Antiquity, eds. Tomas Hägg and Philip Rousseau (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), pp. 209-54.
  • "Dreaming the Body: An Aesthetics of Asceticism," in Asceticism, ed. Vincent Wimbush (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp.281-300.
  • "Poetic Words, Abysmal Words: Reflections on Origen's Hermeneutics," in Origin of Alexandria: His World and Legacy, ed. by Charles Kannengiesser and William L. Petersen (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1988), pp.165-178.
  • "`Plenty Sleeps There': The Myth of Eros and Psyche in Plotinus and Gnosticism," in Neoplatonism and Gnosticism, ed. by Richard T. Wallis and Jay Bregman (Stony Brook: State University of New York Press, 1992), pp.223-238.
Journal Articles
  • “On the Edge of Self and Other: Holy Bodies in Late Antiquity,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 17 (June, 2009).
  • "Relics, Rhetoric, and Mental Spectacles," in Seeing the Invisible in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy 14, ed. Giselle de Nie, Karl F. Morrison, and Marco Mostert (Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2005), pp. 25-52.
  • "Shifting Selves in Late Antiquity," in Religion and the Self in Antiquity, ed. David Brakke, Michael L. Satlow, and Steven Weitzman (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005), pp. 15-39.
  • "Visceral Seeing: The Holy Body in Late Ancient Christianity," Journal of Early Christian Studies 12 (2004):391-411.
  • "Is There a Harlot in this Text?: Hagiography and the Grotesque," Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 33.3 (Fall, 2003):419-36.
  • “'The Little Blue Flower is Red': Relics and the Poetizing of the Body,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 8 (2000):213-36.
  • “`Differential Networks': Relics and Other Fragments in Late Antiquity,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 6 (1998):113-38.
  • “Jerome's Centaur: A Hyper-Icon of the Desert,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 4 (1996):209-33.
  • "Desert Ascetism and `The Body from Nowhere'," Journal of Early Christian Studies 2 (1994): 137-153.
  • "The Blazing Body: Ascetic Desire in Jerome's Letter to Eustochium," Journal of Early Christian Studies 1 (1993): 21-45.
  • "The Devil's Gateway: An Eros of Difference in the Dreams of Perpetua," Dreaming 2 (1992):45-63.
  • "Re-imagining the Self in Dreams," Continuum 1 (1991):35-53.
  • "Dreams in Patristic Literature: Divine Sense or Pagan Nonsense?," Studia Patristica 18 (1989):185-189.
  • "`Words With An Alien Voice': Gnostics, Scripture, and Canon," Journal of the American Academy of Religion LVII (Fall, 1989):459-83.
  • "`All the Words Were Frightful': Salvation by Dreams in the Shepherd of Hermas," Vigiliae Christianae 42 (1988): 327-338.
  • "`A Dubious Twilight': Reflections on Dreams in Patristic Literature," Church History 55 (June, 1986): 153-164.
  • "Pleasure of the Text, Text of Pleasure: Eros and Language in Origen's Commentary on the Song of Songs," Journal of the American Academy of Religion LIV (Summer, 1986): 241-253.
  • "In Praise of Nonsense," in World Spirituality , Vol. 15: Classical Mediterranean Spirituality , ed. by A. Hilary Armstrong (New York: Crossroads/Continuum Press, 1986), pp.481-505.
  • "Origen and the Bestial Imagination," in Origeniana Tertia, ed. by R.P.C. Hanson and Henri Crouzel (Rome: Edizioni dell'ateneo, s.p.a., 1984), pp.48-51.
  • "Origen and the Witch of Endor: Toward an Iconoclastic Typology," Anglican Theological Review 66 (April, 1984): 137-147.
  • "The Physiologus: A Poiesis of Nature," Church History 52 (December 1983): 433-443.
  • "Origen on the Bestial Soul: A Poetics of Nature," Vigiliae Christianae 36 (1982): 115-140.
  • "`Adam Ate From the Animal Tree': A Bestial Poetry of Soul," Dionysius V (December 1981): 165-180.
  • "`In My Father's House Are Many Dwelling Places': ktisma in Origen's De principiis," Anglican Theological Review 62 (October 1980): 322-337.
  • "Micropaedia," Encyclopaedia Britannica , 1974 (50 short articles in the areas of Old Testament Apocrypha, New Testament Apocrypha, and Gnosticism).
Review Essays
  • "Antiquity for a Postmodern Age," Continuum 1 (1990): 209-212 (review-essay of P. Chuvin, The Last Pagans).
  • Review-essay of The Goddess Obscured and Pagan Meditations, in Signs 13 (Summer, 1988): 866-869.