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Jonathan L. Zecher

I completed my PhD at Durham University in Patristics and Historical Theology in 2012. From 2011 until 2017 I taught full-time in the Honors College at the University of Houston—Greek, Latin, Christianity, ‘Great Books,’ and ancient medicine.

As a Research Fellow at ACU I study early Christian asceticism, the medical cultures of late antiquity, and traditions of prayer and spiritual practice in Byzantium and Eastern Orthodox Christianity. My first book (2015) dealt with monastic engagements with death and judgment, focusing especially on the masterpiece of Byzantine monastic literature, the Ladder of Divine Ascent. My current monograph explores the medical context and logic of early monastic practices of spiritual direction.

My interest in medicine extends to clinical practices in late antiquity and their applicability to questions of clinical relationship and care being explored in the health/medical humanities today. I am pursuing this interest through research in the discursive histories of pain and emotion from Hellenistic philosophy through Byzantium. In context of this work, I serve on the board of ReMeDHe, an international working group for scholars interested in “Religion, Medicine, Disability, and Health in Late Antiquity.”


  • 2017–2020
    Research Fellow, Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University
  • 2011–2017
    Visiting Assistant Professor, The Honors College, The University of Houston


  • 2012 
    Durham University, PhD
  • 2007 
    Durham University, MA
  • 2003 
    St. John's College, Santa Fe, BA


  • 2015
    The Role of Death in the Ladder of Divine Ascent and the Greek Ascetic Tradition, Oxford University Press

Research Areas

  • Christian Studies (Incl. Biblical Studies And Church History) (220401)
  • European History (Excl. British, Classical Greek And Roman) (210307)
  • Classical Greek And Roman History (210306)
  • History And Philosophy Of Medicine (220205)