Claudia Setzer

Professor, Religious Studies

I became a biblical scholar by chance, when, as a college student, I signed up for an introductory New Testament course solely because it fit my schedule. Once I was bitten by the bug of text interpretation, there was no turning back. My field is New Testament, but I have also spent time studying rabbinic writings and the Hebrew Bible. Other things I like to do include English Country dancing, making quilts, and living in London. 


  • PHD, Columbia University
  • MPHIL, Columbia University
  • MA, Jewish Theol Sem Amer
  • BA, Macalester College

Courses Taught

  • RELS 206: Understanding The Bible
  • RELS 207: Central Themes New Testament
  • RELS 227: The Gospel Of John
  • RELS 341: Judaism
  • RELS 470: Religious Studies Seminar
  • Research

    New Testament and Christian Origins, early Judaism, and the Bible in American Culture. Dr. Setzer's books and articles focus on social relations between Jews and early Christians, as well as the uses of the Bible in American culture. She served as an associate editor for the Gospels and Acts for the Westminster John Knox Study Bible (2024), she has also served for several years as chair of the Early/Jewish Christian Relations group at the Society of Biblical Literature, has been an associate editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature, has been a contributor to PBS website "From Jesus to Christ," and re-established in 2006 the Columbia University seminar on the New Testament, which she chaired for six years. She recently published a book on the Bible and progressive movements.

  • Publications and Scholarly Activities

    Dr. Setzer recently published The Progressives' Bible (Fortress, 2024), which examines how reform groups like abolitionism, women's rights, and civil rights movements drew on biblical texts to build a more just society.  She co-edited with David Shefferman The Bible in the American Experience (SBL Press, 2020), a work that updates the SBL series on the Bible in American Culture series from the 1980s. She and Dr. Shefferman also editedThe Bible and American Culture: A Sourcebook which gathers and contextualizes documents that show the Bible’s unique role in American history and culture.  

    Other books include Resurrection of the Body in early Judaism and Christianity: Doctrine, Community , and Self Definition (Brill, 2004) and Jewish Responses to Early Christians (Fortress, 1994).  She is also a contributor to Jewish Annotated New Testament, ed. Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Z. Brettler.

    She has served on the steering committee for the SBL group, "Recovering Women Interpreters of Scripture" and on the editorial board of The Journal of Biblical Literature. She is currently chair of the "Bible in America" group for the Society of Biblical Literature.



    The Progressives' Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2024)

    The Bible in the American Experience (SBL Press, 2020).

     The Bible and American Culture. A Sourcebook, co-edited with David A. Shefferman (London: Routledge, 2011).

     Resurrection of the Body in Early Judaism and Early Christianity, Doctrine, Community, and Self-Definition (Leiden: Brill, 2004).

     Pauline Conversations in Context, Essays in Honor of Calvin Roetzel, edited by Janice Capel Anderson, Philip Sellew, and Claudia Setzer (Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002).

     Jewish Responses to Early Christians: History and Polemics, 30-150 C.E.

    (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1994).

     Scholarly Articles:

    “’A Cyclone of Absurdities’: Frances Willard’s Rejection of Biblical Literalism,’ The Bible and Women: Encyclopedia of Exegesis and Cultural History (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature: 2024).

    "Law," pp. 674-698 in Matthias Henze and David Linicum, Israel's Scriptures in Early Christian Writings. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2023

    "The Bible and Social Reform," The Bible and Interpretation. The University of Arizona.

    "The Syro-Phoenician Woman," Bible Odyssey. The Society of Biblical Literature.

    “Sinai, Covenant, and Innocent Blood Traditions in Matthew’s Blood Cry (Matt 27:25),” in The Ways That Often Parted. Essays in Honor of Joel Marcus, ed. Lori Baron, Jill Hicks-Keeton, and Matthew Thiessen (Early Christianity and Its Literature: Atlanta: SBL Press, 2018) 169-185.

     “Feminist Interpretation of the Bible” Oxford Handbook on the Bible in America, ed. Paul Gutjahr (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017) 163-183.

     “Jewish Responses to Early Christians” Jewish Annotated New Testament, second edition, ed. Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Brettler (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017) 730-733.

     “The Bible and the Legacy of First-Wave Feminism,” The Bible and American Life, ed. P. Goff, A. Farnsley, and P. Thuesen (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017) 183-191.

      “This Voice has Come for Your Sake: Seeing and Hearing in John’s Gospel,” Journal of Religion, Film, and Media 2.1 (2016) 35-47.

     “Review Symposium. Four Perspectives”  for Amy-Jill Levine’s Short Stories by Jesus in Horizons 43.1 (June, 2016) 140-144.

     “Mark 7:28; ‘Even the Dogs Under the Table Eat the Children’s Crumbs’—Women, Food, and Learning,” The Gospels in First Century Judea, ed. Steven Notley (Boston: Leiden, 2016) 97-106.

     “Feminism: First Wave,” Oxford Encyclopedia of Bible and Women and Gender, ed. Julia O’Brien (New York: Oxford, 2014).

     “Commentary on 1 Peter” and “Jewish Responses to Early Christians,”  Jewish Annotated New Testament, ed. Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Brettler (New York:Oxford, 2011) 436-42; 577-79.

     “A Jewish Reading of The Woman’s Bible,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 27.2 (2011) 71-84.

     “Resurrection in the Gospel of Matthew: Reality and Symbol,” Life Beyond Death in Matthew’s Gospel. Religious Metaphor or Bodily Reality? ed. Wim Weren, Huub van de Sandt, and Joseph Verheyden (Biblical Tools and Studies 13;Leuven: Peeters, 2011) 43-55.

     “Slavery, Women’s Rights, and the Beginnings of Feminist Biblical Interpretation in the Nineteenth Century,” Postscripts. A Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds,  5.2 (2009; published 12/11) 145-169. 

     “Forum: American Scriptures” Religion and American Culture. 21 (2011) 31-38.

     “Resurrection of the Body in Early Judaism and Early Christianity,” The Human Body and Resurrection, ed. T. Nicklas and Joseph Verheyden (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2009).

     “Resurrection and the Symbolic Construction of Community,” Annali di Storia dell’ esgesi 24 (2007) 77-85.

     “Jews in Carthageand Western North Africa, 70-235 C.E.,” The Cambridge History of Judaism, vol. 4, ed. S. Katz and R. Kalmin (Cambridge,UK:CambridgeUniversity Press, 2006).

     “Does Paul Need to be Saved?” Biblical Interpretation 13 (2005) 289-96.

     “Three Odd Couples: Women and Men in Mark and John,” Mariam, the Magdalen and the Mother edited Deirdre Good (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005) 75-92.

     “The Jews Under Roman Rule,” Pondering the Passion, ed. Philip Cunningham (London, Routledge, 2004) 3-12.

     “’Talking Their Way into Empire,’: Pagans, Jews, and Christians Debate Resurrection of the Body,” Ancient  Judaism in its Hellenistic Context, ed. Carol Bakhos (JSJSupp;Leiden: Brill,  2005) 155-75.

     “The Jewish-Christian Schism: Reflections on the VaticanDocument on the Holocaust, We Remember,” Ethics in the Shadow of the Holocaust, ed. J. Pawlikowski and J. Banki (Chicago: Sheed and Ward, 2002) 35-50.

     “Resurrection of the Dead as Symbol and Strategy,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 69 (2001) 65-101.

    “The Parousia of Jesus and Jewish Messianic Hopes,” in The Return of Jesus in Early Christianity John Carroll, with A. Brown, J. Siker, and C. Setzer (Peabody, Ma: Hendrickson, 2000) 169-85.

     “Jews, Jewish Christians and Judaizers in North Africa,” Putting Body and Soul Together: Essays in Honor of Robin Scroggs, ed. G. Snyder, A. Brown and V. Wiles (Philadelphia: Trinity, 1997) 185-202.

     “Excellent Women: Female Witness to the Resurrection,” Journal of Biblical Literature, 116.2 (1997) 259-272. 

     “’You Invent a Christ!’: Christological Claims as Points of Jewish-Christian Dispute,” Union Seminary Quarterly Review 44 (1991) 315-28.


  • Other

    In addition to her scholarly activities, she has lectured to community, church, and synagogue groups on early Jewish/Christian relations.