Margaret M. Mitchell
Fellow: Awarded 2010
Field of Study: Translation
Competition: US & Canada
Margaret M. Mitchell is Dean and Shailer Mathews Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Also a graduate of the University of Chicago (M.A., 1982; Ph.D., 1989), she was previously an assistant (1988-91) and then associate professor (1991-98) of New Testament Studies at the McCormick Theological Seminary, and has been on the faculty of the University of Chicago since 1998. She became Dean in July 2010. Specializing in early Christian writings of the first four centuries, particularly the Pauline letters, she studies epigraphic materials, such as the “Abercius inscription,” as well as papyri and biblical manuscripts (including the notorious forgery, the ‘Archaic Mark’ in the University of Chicago Special Collections), examining their import both as historical documents and as writings that became foundational to the emerging Christian communities. With her command not only of ancient languages and the rhetorical devices each employed, but also the cultures of both the early Christian writers (or orators) and their audiences, Ms. Mitchell brings a depth of insight to her graceful translations and masterful scholarly studies.
Among her publications are the monographs Paul and the Rhetoric of Reconciliation: An Exegetical Investigation of the Language and Composition of 1 Corinthians (1991), and The Heavenly Trumpet: John Chrysostom and the Art of Pauline Interpretation (2000), both in the Hermeneutische Untersuchungen zur Theologie series; (with Rowan A. Greer) The “Belly-Myther” of Endor: Interpretations of 1 Kingdoms 28 in The Early Church (2007), in the Writings from the Greco-Roman World series; and Paul, the Corinthians, and the Birth of Christian Hermeneutics (Cambridge UP, 2010). She is also the coeditor of Antiquity and Humanity: Essays on Ancient Religion and Philosophy Presented to Hans Dieter Betz on his 70th Birthday (with Adela Yarbro Collins) (Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr/Paul Siebeck, 2001) and of The Cambridge History of Christianity, vol. 1: Origins to Constantine (with Frances M. Young) (Cambridge UP, 2006). When in 2004 Westminster/John Knox republished Robert M. Grant’s Augustus to Constantine: The Rise and Triumph of Christianity in the Roman World, Ms. Mitchell not only provided a new Forward but completely revised its original bibliographies.
Numerous anthologies and reference works in her field, including the The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, and The Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception, boast contributions from her, and she has published influential articles on a range of topics in such important journals as Novum Testamentum, Journal of Biblical Literature, The Journal of Religion, Journal of Early Christian Studies, Theologische Literaturzeitung, and Biblical Interpretation, as well as columns on Christian origins and contemporary religion in Sightings and The Religion and Culture Web Forum, electronic publications of the University of Chicago’s Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion.
In addition to her administrative and teaching duties at the University of Chicago Divinity School, Ms. Mitchell has been Dudleian Lecturer at Harvard Divinity School (2000); Thompson Lecturer at Princeton Theological Seminary (2000); Drumwright Lecturer at Baylor University (2004); Albert Cardinal Meyer Lecturer at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago (2005); McMannis Lecturer at Wheaton College (2006); Carmichael-Walling Lecturer at Abilene Christian University (2006); and Kenneth W. Clark Lecturer at Duke University Divinity School. She also gave the Donnellan Lectures at Trinity College, Dublin, in 2006, the Speaker’s Lectures in Biblical Interpretation at the University of Oxford in 2008, and the Nils A. Dahl Lecture at the University of Oslo in 2010. In 2011 Professor Mitchell was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
During her Guggenheim Fellowship term, she will be completing a translation of eighteen largely unknown sermons by the fourth-century Antiochene preacher John Chrysostom on passages from St. Paul’s letters, a work commissioned for the Writings from the Greco-Roman World series.