Rebecca Denova

  • Senior Lecturer Emeritus


Hellenistic Judaism, the historical Jesus, Gospels, Paul, Jewish-Christian relations in antiquity, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Greco-Roman culture and religions, women in early Judaism and early Christianity, Gnosticism, biblical literary-criticism and textual studies,


Origins of Christianity and the New Testament, Varieties of Early Christianity, Construction of Evil in the Western Tradition, Death in the Name of God: Martyrs and Martyrdom, Religions of Ancient Egypt, Greco-Roman Religions, Dualism in the Ancient World, Body and Society in Late Antiquity, Death in the Mediterranean World, and other thematic courses on aspects of world religions and the evolution of ancient religious concepts and their modern counterparts

Community Service

Rebecca Denova lectures frequently in the Pittsburgh area, particularly for synagogue and interfaith communities. She has offered courses for the Academy of Lifelong Learning, the American-Jewish Committee, the Jewish Education Institute, Mount Lebanon Public Library, and the Osher Program at the University of Pittsburgh. She helped to organize a city-wide conference on Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” has lectured on the controversial “The Da Vinci Code,” and is a frequent contributor on religious issues to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Her previous teaching experience includes eight years as an associate professor (tenured) at Bethany College in West Virginia. She has taught at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and as a visiting professor at Boston University.

Overseas Experience

Dr. Denova has spent several summer research projects in Jerusalem, ancient Ostia, studying Etruscan hill towns and cemeteries, Pompeii and Herculaneum, and ancient Egypt.Dr. Denova served as a supplemental lecturer for “The Wonders of Egypt” trip from February 26 to March 11, 2019, for 34 Osher Lifelong Learning Institute participants.  We covered the entire country, including Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor, Aswan and a flight to Abu Simbel on the Sudanese border.  The trip also provided four days of cruising down the Nile, exploring the villages and temples of Upper Egypt.

Education & Training

  • PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 1994

Representative Publications

Dr. Denova has been invited to chair a session and present a paper on “Luke and Acts With(in) Second Temple Judaism,” at the Enoch conference in Rome at the Waldensian School of Theology in June 2022.  She has also been invited to serve as a respondent for papers on the same topic in the Enoch Seminar of the Society of Biblical Literature in San Antonio, Texas in November 2022.

Dr. Denova has completed the chapters for an undergraduate textbook, “Origins of Christianity and the New Testament,” for Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming, January, 2021.

Greek and Roman Religions, Wiley-Blackwell, January 2019.

Neither Monotheism nor Polytheism: Religious Pluralism in the Western Tradition, in Religion: Book Series of Raffaele Pettazzoni Museum of Religions, Quasar Publishers, forthcoming, April 2019.

Passionate Dialogues: Critical Perspectives on Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, Daniel Burston and Rebecca Denova, eds., Pittsburgh:  Mise Publications, 2005.

An Historical and Literary Understanding of the Passion Narratives in the Gospels, in Passionate Dialogues: Critical Perspectives on Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, eds. Daniel Burston and Rebecca Denova, 2005.

The Things Accomplished Among Us: Prophetic Tradition in the Structural Pattern of Luke-Acts.  Studies in Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity 4 (Sheffield:Sheffield Academic Press, 1997).

Paul’s Letter to the Romans 13:1-7:  The Gentile-Christian Response to Civil Authority, Encounter (Volume 53, Number 3, Summer, 1992).

PaulJesus of Nazareth, and Early Christianity encyclopedia articles for Ancient History Encyclopedia.

Research Interests

Current Projects

“Varieties of Early Christianity: The Formation of the Western Tradition,” (Wiley-Blackwell, March 2023)