Associate Professor of History and Religion
Medieval and early modern European religious history
Deeana Klepper teaches courses on medieval and early modern European religious history, with special interests in Christian-Jewish-Muslim relations and other cross-cultural religious encounters, the place of Bible in medieval culture, the social contexts of mysticism, and the history of science. She taught previously at Williams College and has been the recipient of numerous prizes and fellowships, including the American Academy in Rome’s Rome Prize, a University of Pennsylvania Center for Advanced Judaic Studies Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend for research. Professor Klepper’s research focuses on approaches to the Bible and biblical interpretation in medieval Christian-Jewish encounter and on the relationship between religious thought and policy/action. Her book The Insight of Unbelievers: Nicholas of Lyra and Christian Reading of Jewish Texts in the Later Middle Ages in the Later Middle Ages (University of Pennsylvania Press) explores the complicated and contradictory attitudes toward Jewish tradition held by various Christian scholars and shows how the Franciscan Bible commentator Nicholas of Lyra came to serve as an important mediator of Hebrew traditions for Christian Europe. She has published articles on a range of related subjects, including, most recently, “The Encounter Between Christian Authority and Jewish Authority over Scriptural Truth: The Barcelona Disputation of 1263,” and “The Jew As Hagar in Medieval Christian Text and Image.” She has just completed an article on a little known fourteenth-century pastoral manual from Bavaria in terms of its concerns about Christian-Jewish relations and anti-Jewish violence, which will lead now into additional work on Christian pastoral manuals as a means through which to explore the interaction between canon law (legal theory) and practical realities concerning Christian-Jewish relations. Professor Klepper also teaches courses in the Department of Religion.