Georgia Frank

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Georgia Frank

Charles A. Dana Professor of Religion; Chair, Department of Religion

Department/Office Information

301B Lawrence Hall

BA, Barnard College, Columbia University; MTS, AM, PhD, Harvard University

Harvard University; College of the Holy Cross

Ancient Christianity

My research interests focus on sacred stories, the senses, and stuff in the first six hundred years of Christianity. I've published pilgrims' writings and their souvenirs, holy places, sacred images, hermits, and rituals. More recently, I've focused on the role of the emotions in early Christian storytelling. I first became fascinated by these questions through archaeological fieldwork and study in Italy, Turkey, Greece, and Egypt.

Now published

  • Unfinished Christians: Ritual Objects and Silent Subjects in Late Antiquity. Georgia Frank. University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming, 2023


Learn more about Unfinished Christians



  • "Managing Affect through Rhetoric: The Case of Pity," in Managing Emotion: Passions, Affects and Imaginings in Byzantium, ed. Margaret Mullett and Susan Ashbrook Harvey. London, Routledge, 2022. Pp. 113-36.
  • "Petrification and Portability: Monks as Statues in Late Antique Egypt," Journal of the Canadian Society for Coptic Studies 12 (2020): 25-30.
  • The Memory of the Eyes: Pilgrims to Living Saints in Christian Late Antiquity. Transformation of the Classical Heritage, 30; Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.
  • (with Susan R. Holman and Andrew Jacobs) "Introduction. Dangling Bodies, Robes of Glory: The Garb of Embodiment in Ancient Christianity," "in The Garb of Being: Embodiment and the Pursuit of Holiness in Late Ancient Christianity. ed. Georgia Frank, Susan R. Holman, Andrew Jacobs. New York: Fordham University Press, 2020. Pp. 1-12.
  • "Crowds and Collective Affect in Romanos's Biblical Retellings," in The Garb of Being: Embodiment and the Pursuit of Holiness in Late Ancient Christianity. ed. Georgia Frank, Susan R. Holman, Andrew Jacobs. New York: Fordham University Press, 2020. Pp. 169-90.
  • “Traveling Stylites? : Rethinking the Pillar Saint’s Stasis in the Christian East,” in Mobilités monastiques en Orient et en Occident de l'antiquité tardive au moyen âge (IVe au XVe siècle). Edited by Olivier Delouis, Maria Mossakowska-Gaubert and Annick Peters-Custot. Rome: École française de Rome, 2019. Pp. 261-73.
  • “Picturing Psalms: Pilgrims' Processions in Late Antique Jerusalem,” in Visibilité et présence de l'image dans l'espace ecclésial. Byzance et Moyen Âge occidental. ed. Sulamith Brodbeck and Anne-Orange Poilpré. Byzantina Sorbonensia, 30. Paris: Éditions de la Sorbonne, 2019. Pp. 63-76.
  • “Singing Mary: The Annunciation and Nativity in Romanos the Melodist,” in The Reception of the Mother of God in Byzantium: Marian Narratives in Texts and Images. Edited by Thomas Arentzen and Mary B. Cunningham. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. Pp. 170-79.
  • "Touching and Feeling in Late Antique Pilgrims’ Narratives,” in Journeys in the Roman East: Imagined and Real, edited by Maren Niehoff. Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 2017. Pp. 329-40.
  • “Memory and Forgetting in Romanos the Melodist’s ‘On the Newly Baptized,’” in Between Personal and Institutional Religion: Self, Doctrine, and Practice in Late Antique Eastern Christianity. Edited by Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony and Lorenzo Perrone. Cultural Encounters in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages series (Y. Hen, general editor). Turnhout: Brepols, 2013. Pp. 37-55.
  • “The Memory Palace of Marcellinus: Athanasius and the Mirror of the Psalms,” in Ascetic Culture: Essays in Honor of Philip Rousseau. Edited by Blake Leyerle and Robin Darling Young. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2013. Pp. 97-124.
  • “Sensing Ascension in Early Byzantium,” in Experiencing Byzantium: Papers from the 44th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, edited by Claire Nesbitt and Mark P. C. Jackson. Farnham, Surrey, England: Ashgate Publishing, 2013. Pp. 293–309.
  • “Telling Jerusalem: Miracles and the Moveable Past in Late Antique Christianity,” in Objects in Motion: The Circulation of Religion and Sacred Objects in the Late Antique and Byzantine World. Edited by Hallie Meredith. British Archaeological Reports International Series 2247. Oxford: Archaeopress, 2011. Pp. 49-54.
  • “Death in the Flesh: Picturing Death’s Body and Abode in Late Antiquity,” in Looking Beyond: Visions, Dreams and Insights in Medieval Art and History. Edited by Colum Hourihane. State Park, Penn.; Pennsylvania State University Press, 2010. Pp. 58-74.
  • “Christ's Descent to the Underworld in Ancient Ritual and Legend,” in Apocalyptic Thought in Early Christianity, ed. Robert Daly. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2009. Pp. 211-26.
  • "L'eucharistie et la mémoire sensorielle selon Jean Chrysostome," in Pratiques de l’eucharistie dans les Églises d’Orient et d’Occident (Antiquité et Moyen Âge). Eds. Nicole Bériou, Béatrice Caseau, and Dominique Rigaux. Collection des Études Augustiniennes, série Moyen Âge et Temps Modernes, vols. 45-46. Paris: Institut d’Études Augustiniennes, 2009. Vol. 2, pp. 765-78.
  • "Pilgrimage," Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies. Edited by Susan Ashbrook Harvey and David Hunter. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Pp. 826-43. 
  • "From Antioch to Arles: Lay Devotion in Context." In The Cambridge History of Christianity, vol. 2: Constantine to c. 600. Eds. Augustine Cassaday and Frederick Norris. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Pp. 531-47. 
  • "Loca Sancta Souvenirs and the Art of Memory," in Pèlerinages et lieux saints dans l’antiquité et le moyen âge : mélanges offerts à Pierre Maraval. Eds. Béatrice Caseau, Jean-Claude Cheynet and Vincent Déroche. Paris : Travaux et Mémoires. Association des amis du Centre d’histoire et civilisation de Byzance, 2006. Pp. 193-201. 
  • "The Image in Tandem: Painting Metaphors and Moral Discourse in Late Antique Christianity." In The Subjective Eye: Essays in Culture, Religion, and Gender in Honor of Margaret R. Miles. Edited by Richard Valantasis et al. Princeton Theological Monograph Series, 59. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2006. Pp. 33-47. 
  • "Romanos and the Night Vigil in the Sixth Century." In A People's History of Christianity, vol. 3: Byzantine Christianity. Ed. by Derek Krueger. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2006. Pp. 59-78. 
  • "Dialogue and Deliberation: The Making of the Sensory Self in the Hymns of Romanos the Melodist." In Religion and the Self in Antiquity. Ed. by David Brakke, Steve Weitzman, and Michael Satlow. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 2005. Pp. 163-79.
  • "'Taste and See': The Eucharist and the Eyes of Faith in the Fourth Century," Church History 70 (2001): 619-43.
  • "Macrina's Scar: Homeric Allusion and Heroic Identity in Gregory of Nyssa's Life of Macrina"Journal of Early Christian Studies 8 (2000): 511-30
  • "The Pilgrim's Gaze in the Age before Icons," in Visuality before and beyond the Renaissance. Edited by Robert S. Nelson. (Cambridge Studies in New Art History and Criticism; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 98-115
  • "Miracles, Monks, and Monuments: The Historia Monachorum in Aegypto as Pilgrims' Tales" in Pilgrimage and Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt, David Frankfurter, ed. (REligions in the Greco-Roman World; Leiden: Brill, 1998), 483-505
  • "The Historia Monachorum and Ancient Travel Writing" in Studia Patristica 30 (1997)
  • "Pilgrims' Experience and Theological Challenge: Two Patristic Views" in Akten des XII. Internationalen Kongresses fur Christliche Archaologie (Bonn 22-28, September 1991) Jahrbuch fur Antike und Christentum, Erganzungsbande, 20:1-2, 1995. Vol. 2, pp. 787-91

In Press

  • “Singing in the Dark: The Night Vigil as Incubator of Emotions” in Towards the Prehistory of the Byzantine Liturgical Year: Festal Homilies and Festal Liturgies in Late Antique Constantinople, edited by Harald Buchinger and Stephanos Alexopoulos. Peeters [forthcoming]

"The Memory of the Eyes: Pilgrimage to Desert Ascetics in the Christian East during the Fourth and Fifth Centuries"

Advisers: Susan Ashbrook Harvey (Brown University); Helmut Koester, Margaret Miles (Harvard)

Associate Dean of the Faculty (2013-16) • Interim Director, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (2018-19) • Co-Director, Chapel House (2017-18) • Chair, Religion Department (2010-2013), Chair, Core: Western Traditions (2005-08). Beyond Colgate: Wabash Center for Teaching Theology & Religion (steering committee (2013-15); served on governance bodies for American Academy of Religion, Byzantine Studies Association of North America, North American Patristic Society. Archaeological Exploration of Sardis, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA and Sart Mustafa, Turkey(1985-1987, 1990).

  • Cornell Society for the Humanities Fellow (2020-21)
  • Colgate Presidential Scholar
  • Member of Phi Beta Kappa
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2003)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities - American Academy in Rome Summer Seminar (2002)
  • American Council of Learned Societies Fellow (1998-99)
  • American Association of University Women Post-Doctoral Fellowship (1998-99)
  • American Council of Learned Societies - Contemplative Practice Fellowship (1997)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend (1997)
  • Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellowship (1991-92)
  • Harvard Graduate Student Council International Conference Grant (1991)
  • Harvard University Scholarship (1987-1993)
  • Archaeological Exploration of Sardis Travel Grant (1986, 1987)