Jeff Wickes

Jeff Wickes

Associate Professor

Primary Field of Study: History of Christianity
Secondary Field of Study: Liturgical Studies


Ph.D. Notre Dame

Research and Training Interests

Late Antique Christianity; Syriac literature; ritual studies; religion and literature

Selected Publications

Bible and Poetry in Late Antique Mesopotamia: Ephrem’s Hymns on Faith. Christianity in Late Antiquity Series 5. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2019.

“Performance, Relic, Poem in Ephrem’s Hymns on Saints,” in Performance and Performativity in Late Antiquity, Byzantium, and Beyond. Edited by Niki Tsironis, Washington, D.C.: Center for Hellenic Studies / Harvard University Press . Forthcoming.

With Andrew Faulkner and Cillian O’Hogan, Genesis in Late Antique Poetry. Early Christain Studies series. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press. Forthcoming.

“Between Liturgy and School: Reassessing the Performative Context of Ephrem’s Madrashe.” Journal of Early Christian Studies 26:1 (Spring, 2018), 25-51.

St. Ephrem the Syrian: the Hymns on Faith. Fathers of the Church, Volume 130. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2015.


Jeff Wickes focuses on the interplay between Syriac literature, theology, and liturgy in the context of late antique Christianity. Building projects that work from close readings of Syriac texts, he gravitates in his work towards larger questions of genre (especially poetry), religion, and theology as they play out within the historical horizons of late antique Christianity, and as those horizons meet our own in the contemporary world. His first two books focused on Syriac Christianity’s formative voice, Ephrem the Syrian, and sought to find the place where performative context and exegesis met in the space of Ephrem’s poetry. His current book turns to a range of Syriac hagiographical poems sung between the fourth and sixth centuries to ask questions around form, agency, time, and gender in late antique poetry and the cult of the saints. He comes to Notre Dame after nine years at Saint Louis University. Prior to that, he completed a PhD at the University of Notre Dame, an MA at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary, and a BA at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. His work has been supported by grants from, among others, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, the Mellon Foundation, and the Dolores Zorhab Liebmann Fund.

Website CV


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(574) 631-7137

The Formation of Syriac Christian Culture Through Poetry