Paul Dilley

Professor Paul Dilley
Assistant Professor, Ancient Mediterranean Religions
Joint appointment with the Department of Classics
PhD, Yale University, 2008
406 Gilh
Office Hours: 
Mon 11:30-1 / 205JB: Wed 11:30-1 (Spring 2016)
Curriculum Vitae: 
Research Interests: 
Ancient Mediterranean Religions, Late Antiquity, Early Christianity

Dr. Dilley joined the University of Iowa in 2011. He has a joint appointment in Religious Studies and Classics and is a member of the Public Humanities in a Digital World initiative.

Dr. Dilley conducts research in the religions of the Mediterranean world and Iran, from the Hellenistic period to early Islam. He is especially interested in the development of Judaism and Christianity within the various cultures of the Graeco-Roman world, including Egypt and Syria; and the classical tradition in these diverse environments.  His book manuscript, "Care of the Other in Ancient Monasticism: A Cultural History of Ascetic Guidance," traces the emergence of new techniques of psychagogy, or "care for souls," and corresponding notions of the self and society, in the Christian ascetic movements of Late Antiquity.  A second book project, "Don't Laugh at Another’s Fall: Towards a Corpus and Theory of Ascetic Poetics," examines early Christian stories about transvestite saints in the context of Graeco-Roman theater.

Another research focus is the development of orthodoxy and heresy, apocryphal literature, and the canon.

Professor Dilley is also involved in an international project to publish the "Dublin Kephalaia Codex," an ancient Coptic manuscript containing previously unknown discourses of Mani, who grew up in a Jewish-Christian baptizing sect in third-century Iraq and later founded the first world religion with the support of the Iranian shah.  The editorial process involves extensive use of advanced photography, including multispectral imaging, to recover loss texts, with generous support from the Australian Research Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  This project is part of a broader interest in understanding the various modes of interaction among the religious traditions of Late Antique Eurasia, from Rome to China, in areas such as canon-formation, cosmology, and political theology.

Selected Publications: 

(For complete list, please see Professor Dilley's CV):

  • "Religious Intercrossing in Late-Antique Eurasia: Fragmentation, Corruption, and Written Canons," in Journal of World History (Accepted).
  • "The Chester Beatty Kephalaia Project" (with Iain Gardner and Jason BeDuhn), in Proceedings of the Seventh Conference of the International Association of Manichaean Studies, ed. Siegfried Richter (Leiden: Brill) (Accepted)
  • "Letter to a Holy Man with Prayer," in Koptische dokumentarische und literarische Texts, ed. Monika Hasitzka, Corpus Papyrorum Raineri 31 (Berlin: DeGruyter, 2011), 30-35.
  • "The Invention of Christian Tradition: Apocrypha, Imperial Policy, and Anti-Jewish Propaganda," in Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 50.4 (2010): 586-614.
  • "Christian Icon Practice in Apocryphal Literature: Consecration and the Conversion of Synagogues into Churches," in Journal of Roman Archaeology 23 (2010): 285-302.
  • "Dipinti in Late Antiquity and Shenoute's Monastic Federation: Text and Image in the Paintings of the Red Monastery," in Zeitschrift fur Papyrologie und Epigraphik 165 (2008): 1-18.
Awards & Service: 
  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, German Chancellor Fellowship (June 2011; Summer 2006; 2000-2001)
  • Ken Forster Memorial Award for Excellence in Research and Teaching, Penn State University (2010)
  • American Philosophical Society Franklin Grant (Summer 2009)
  • American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) Fellowship (2007-2008)
  • Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (2006-2007)
  • Jacob K. Javits Fellowship in the Humanities (2002-2006)
  • RELS:1001 Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
  • RELS:2182 (CLSA:2482) Ancient Mediterranean Religions
  • RELS:3243 (CLSA:3443) Pagans & Christians: The Early Church
  • RELS:4950 Senior Majors Seminar