Cynthia Baker

Cynthia M. Baker


Religious Studies


Hedge Hall, Room 203

Classical and Medieval Studies

Ph.D., Duke; M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School; B.A., Wesleyan

Professor Baker specializes in ancient Judaism and Christianity.

Professor Baker earned her B.A. at Wesleyan, M.T.S. at Harvard, and Ph.D. at Duke and has taught at Duke, Cornell, Swarthmore, and Santa Clara University.  Professor Baker has taught a wide range of courses in her specialties including Hebrew Bible; New Testament; Historical Jesus; Rabbinic Judaism; Gender and Sexuality in Early Christianity; Gender and Judaism; Eve, Adam, the Serpent, and the Rest of the Story; Inventing Judaism in Antiquity; Human Suffering; and Religions of the Book.

Her research explores ideas about gender, ethnicity, and nationalism in the formative periods of Judaism and Christianity and in modern historiography on these periods. Her book, Rebuilding the House of Israel: Architectures of Gender in Jewish Antiquity, was published by Stanford University Press in 2002. Recent publications include “Whose ‘Outer Limits’? Historiography in an Age of Destruction,” in Redefining First-Century Jewish and Christian Identities, (ed. Fabian E. Udoh, et al., South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 2008); “The Queen, the Apostate, and the Women Between: (Dis)Placement of Women in Tosefta Sukkah,” in A Feminist Commentary on the Babylonian Talmud: Introduction and Studies, (ed. Tal Ilan, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007); and “When Jews Were Women.” History of Religions 45:2 (November 2005).  Dr. Baker is the Chair of the steering committee for the Social History of Formative Christianity and Judaism Section of the Society for Biblical Literature.

When not in her office she can often be found foraging about the woods for wild gourmet mushrooms.