Stephen Davis

Professor of Religious Studies, History, and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations; Head of Pierson College
451 College St
Fields of interest : 

archaeology, textual studies, and social history

Stephen Davis is Professor of Religious Studies, specializing in the history of ancient and medieval Christianity, with a focus on the eastern Mediterranean and the Near East. Since 2013, he has served as Head of Pierson College, one of the residential colleges at Yale, and since 2015 as Chair of the Council of Heads of College (CHC).

Prior to coming to Yale in 2002, Davis lived in Egypt for four years, where he was professor and academic dean at an Arabic-language theological seminary in Cairo. His areas of teaching and research at Yale include the study of women and gender, pilgrimage and the cult of the saints, the history of biblical interpretation and canon formation, Egyptian Christianity, Arabic Christianity and its relation to Islam, early Christian art and material culture, and the application of archaeological, anthropological, sociological, and literary methods in the study of historical texts.

Select Publications

Monasticism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, forthcoming January 2018);

Christ Child: Cultural Memories of a Young Jesus (Yale University Press, 2014);

A Disputation over a Fragment of the Cross: A Medieval Arabic Text from the History of Christian-Jewish-Muslim Relations in Egypt (co-authored and edited with B. Orfali and S. Noble; Dar al-Machreq, 2012);

The Arabic Life of St. John the Little (published as a monograph in the journal Coptica, vol. 7, 2008);

Coptic Christology in Practice: Incarnation and Divine Participation in Late Antique and Medieval Egypt (Oxford University Press, 2008);

The Early Coptic Papacy: The Egyptian Church and Its Leadership in Late Antiquity (American University in Cairo Press, 2004);

Be Thou There: The Holy Family’s Journey in Egypt (co-authored with W. Lyster and C. Hulsman; American University in Cairo Press, 2001);

The Cult of St. Thecla: A Tradition of Women’s Piety in Late Antiquity (Oxford University Press, 2001).