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Candida Moss

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Candida R. Moss
Candida Moss, 2013
Born (1978-11-26) 26 November 1978 (age 45)
London, England
TitleEdward Cadbury Professor of Theology
SpouseJustin Foa (m. 2018)
AwardsAmerican Academy of Arts and Sciences
Academic background
Alma mater
Doctoral advisorAdela Yarbro Collins
Academic work

Candida R. Moss (born 26 November 1978) is an English public intellectual, journalist,[1] New Testament scholar and historian of Christianity, and as of 2017, the Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham. A graduate of Oxford and Yale universities, Moss specialises in the study of the New Testament, with a focus on the subject of martyrdom in early Christianity,[2] as well as other topics from the New Testament and early Church History. She is the winner of a number of awards for her research and writing and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Early life and education[edit]

Moss was born on 26 November 1978 in London, England. She graduated from Oxford University in 2000 with a B.A. in theology,[3][4] a degree taken with Honors at Worcester College.[4] In 2002, she received a Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.) in Biblical studies from Yale Divinity School.[5] Moss graduated from Yale University in 2006 with an M.A. and an M.Phil in New Testament, following this by a PhD in the same field in 2008.[5] Her doctoral advisor was Adela Yarbro Collins.[6]



Moss began her career at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, and became a full professor there in 2012, four years after receiving her PhD from Yale.[5] As of August 2017,[7] Moss had joined the faculty of the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham as Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology.[7] She is also a research associate at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University.[8]


Moss has specialized in the study of martyrdom, ancient medicine and the New Testament, early Christian ideas about the resurrection of Jesus's physical body, and enslaved literate workers in the ancient world.[9]

Moss has written three books on martyrdom. Her writing on this subject has been praised for its "readability, clarity...creativity, thoughtfulness, and wit."[10] She was the recipient of The John Templeton Award of Theological Promise in 2011, which cited her 2010 OUP book, The Other Christs: Imitating Jesus in Ancient Christian Ideologies of Martyrdom.[11] Her 2012 book, Ancient Christian Martyrdom, argued that post-Enlightenment bias against martyrdom had led scholars to think of martyrdom as a phenomenon that spread from one region of the Roman empire to another; against this, Moss argues that martyrdom developed differently in different contexts.[12] Her controversial 2013 book, The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom, argues that the stories of early Christian martyrdom "have been altered ... edited and shaped by later generations of Christians" and none of them are "completely historically accurate";[13] she additionally maintains that the Roman authorities did not actively seek out or target Christians and that in the first three centuries of Christian history, Christians were only prosecuted by order of a Roman emperor for a brief period (no more than twelve years).[14] In a review published in 2013 focusing on her first two books, Edinburgh classicist Lucy Grig wrote that "Candida Moss has swiftly established herself as one of the most interesting and original scholars working on early Christian martyrdom."[2]

Moss is well known as one of the first scholars to study the role and relevance of disability and ancient medicine in the New Testament. In 2011 she co-edited Disability Studies and Biblical Studies with Jeremy Schipper and, in 2015, co-authored Reconciling Infertility: Biblical Perspectives on Procreation and Childlessness with Yale Divinity School professor of Hebrew Bible Joel Baden. The latter was shortlisted by the American Academy of Religion for its Book Prize for Textual Studies.[15] Her 2019 book Divine Bodies: Resurrecting Perfection in the New Testament and Early Christianity argued that disability might be preserved in the resurrection.

In 2017 Moss and Baden collaborated on a second book on Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby, which examined the efforts of the Green family, the owners of Hobby Lobby to influence religion and politics in America. The book grew out of their role exposing antiquities trafficking and the Hobby Lobby smuggling scandal. The New Republic described the book as "Exhaustively reported and scrupulously fair".[16] The Washington Post called it a "remarkable fusion of biblical studies and investigative journalism."[17] It was named one of Publishers Weekly's 2017 Best Books in Religion.

Moss's most recent work has focussed on Slavery in Ancient Rome and the ways in which enslaved secretaries, scribes, readers, and copyists contributed to the writing of the New Testament and the dissemination of early Christianity. After publishing several peer-reviewed articles in the Studies in Late Antiquity, the Journal of Theological Studies, and New Testament Studies, Moss published God's Ghostwriters: Enslaved Christians and the Making of the Bible with Little, Brown and Company in 2024. The book received widespread attention in as a paradigm-shifting book. The Irish Independent called it ""A tour de force" and "an intellectual triumph."[18] The Spectator wrote that Moss's "massive achievement is to shift the paradigm and tell the early Christian story (as far as is possible) from the perspective of the enslaved."[19] The New York Times Book Review concluded that the book made "it impossible to ignore the labor between the lines.”[20] And the Wall Street Journal described it as "by far the best account we have of the roles by enslaved people in supporting the high literary culture of the ancient world more broadly."[21] It added that "No one can possibly doubt, after reading this vigorous and provocative book, that the whole texture of Christian thought would have looked very different without them." At the same time, some reviewers took issue with Moss's use of Saidiya Hartman's methods of critical fabulation and criticized the speculative nature of some of her arguments. The book was distinctive as the first work of ancient history written for the general public to be published with a companion website containing thousands of additional endnotes and references.[22]

According to a report “Updated Science-wide Author Databases of Standardized Citation Indicators,” released by the global information analytics company Elsevier on October 4, 2023, Moss is among the 2% most cited science authors in the world.[23] In his 2024 endorsement for God's Ghostwriters, New York Times bestselling-author Reza Aslan described Moss as "the most compelling voice in Biblical Scholarship" [24] On his blog Variant Readings, Manuscript expert Brent Nongbri described it as "probably the most important book in New Testament studies written in the last half century."[25]

Public scholarship and journalism[edit]

Moss is a columnist for The Daily Beast,.[26] She has written for the Los Angeles Times,[27] Politico,[28] The New York Times,[29] BBC Online, TIME,[30] CNN.com,[31] The Washington Post,[32] HuffPost, The Chronicle of Higher Education,[33]America and the Times Higher Education Supplement.[34]

In January 2015, Moss and her coauthor Joel Baden were the first to reveal the Hobby Lobby smuggling scandal to the public when they wrote about the company's import of illicitly obtained cuneiform tablets for the Daily Beast.[35]

Moss has served as papal news contributor for CBS News,[36] and contributed to the BBC Radio 4's In Our Time,.[37] She was an academic consultant to the television series The Bible,[38] and an on-air expert and host for National Geographic Explorer,[39] as well as for the History, Travel,[40] and Smithsonian[41] Channels.

Moss is an advocate for public academic scholarship. In a 2022 article for data-based website Academic Influence Moss topped the list of the ten most influential women in religious studies in that last ten years.[42]



Endowed Lectures

  • Colliver Lecture, University of the Pacific. Stockton, Calif., September 19, 2013.
  • 51st Institute on Sacred Scripture, Catholic University of America, June 10–12, 2014.
  • 34th Annual Newell Lectures in Biblical Studies, Anderson School of Theology, October 12, 2015.
  • 6th Irene E. Marold Lectures, Moravian Seminary, Bethlehem Pennsylvania, October 23, 2015.
  • E. P. Adler lecture, University of Iowa, March 3, 2016.
  • Cadbury Lectures, University of Birmingham, UK March 6–10, 2017.
  • Inaugural Wolfe Lecture, Boston College, February 7, 2018.
  • 26th Distinguished Lecture, East Carolina University, September 27, 2018.
  • G. Peter Kaye Lecture, Vancouver School of Theology, February 21, 2020.
  • Dean’s Lecture Series, Saint John’s Cathedral, Denver, April 27, 2022.
  • Killeen Chair Lecture Series, St. Norbert College, 21 September 2023.
  • James A Kirk Lecture, University of Denver, 24 April 2024.
  • Lattey Lecture, University of Cambridge, May 28, 2024.

Personal life[edit]

Moss is a kidney transplant recipient.[53] She is a Roman Catholic.[54] She is the daughter of journalist, political speech writer, and best-selling author Robert Moss.[55] Moss's mother, Katrina Elizabeth Wise, died in 2005.[56]

In April 2018, she married Justin Foa, the President and CEO of Foa & Son, an international insurance brokerage firm established in 1861.[55] Moss's brother-in-law is Barrett Foa, a singer, dancer, and actor who portrayed Eric Beale on the military police procedural NCIS: Los Angeles.[57] Moss has two stepsons, Max and Luke. In an article published on Mother's Day 2022 Moss wrote of them that she "did not think anyone could love any child more than I love the boys."[58]

Selected works[edit]


  • Moss, Candida (2008). Gods, Lords and Kings: the characterization of the martyrs in the early Christian Acta Martyrum (PhD). Yale University. OCLC 272271965.


Edited volumes[edit]

Peer-reviewed journal articles[edit]

  • "The Secretary: Enslaved Workers, Stenography, and the Production of Early Christian Literature," The Journal of Theological Studies 74 (2023): 20-56.
  • Co-authored with Meghan R. Henning. "Pulling Apart and Piecing Together: Wholeness and Fragnentation in Early Christian Visions of the Afterlife," Journal of the American Academy of Religion 90 (2022):973-986.
  • "Reading Between the Lines: Looking for the Contributions of Enslaved Literate Laborers in a Second Century Text," Studies in Late Antiquity 5 (2021): 432-52
  • "Infant Exposure and the Rhetoric of Cannibalism, Incest, and Martyrdom in the Early Church," Journal of Early Christian Studies 29:3 (2021): 341-396.
  • "Fashioning Mark: Early Christian Discussions about the Scribe and Status of the Second Gospel,” New Testament Studies 67:2 (2021): 181-204.
  • Co-authored with Liane M. Feldman. "The New Jerusalem: Wealth, Ancient Building Projects, and Revelation 21-22,” New Testament Studies 66:3 (2020): 351-66.
  • “Dying to Live Forever: Identity and Virtue in the Resurrection of the Bodies of the Martyrs,” Irish Theological Quarterly 84:2 (2019): 155-174.
  • "A Note on the Death of Judas in Papias,” New Testament Studies 65:3 (2019): 388-97.
  • "The Marks of the Nails: Scars, Wounds, and the Resurrection of Jesus in John,” Early Christianity 8:1 (2017): 48-68
  • "Nailing Down and Tying Up: Lessons in Intertextual Impossibility from the Martyrdom of Polycarp,” Vigiliae Christianae 67:2 (2013): 117-136.
  • “Christly Possession and Weakened Bodies: A Reconsideration of the Function of Paul's Thorn in the Flesh (2 Cor. 12:7-10),” Journal of Religion Disability and Health 16:4 (2012): 319-333.
  • “The Discourse of Voluntary Martyrdom: Ancient and Modern,” Church History 81:3 (2012): 531-551.
  • Co-Authopred with Jeffrey Stackert “The Devastation of Darkness: Disability in Exodus 10:21-23, 27, and the Intensification of the Plagues,” Journal of Religion 92:3 (2012): 362-372.
  • Co-authored with Joel S. Baden. “1 Thess 4:13-18 in Rabbinic Perspective,” New Testament Studies 58 (2012): 1-16.
  • “Blurred Vision and Ethical Confusion: The Rhetorical Function of Matt 6:22-23,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 73:4 (2011): 757-76.
  • Co-authored with Joel S. Baden. “The Origin and Interpretation of sara ‘at in Leviticus 13-14,” Journal of Biblical Literature 130:4 (2011): 643-661.
  • “Heavenly Healing: Eschatological Cleansing and the Resurrection of the Dead in the Early Church,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 79:3 (2011) 1-27.
  • “The Man with the Flow of Power: Porous Bodies in Mark 5:25-34,” Journal of Biblical Literature 129:3 (2010): 507-519.
  • “On the Dating of Polycarp: Rethinking the Place of the Martyrdom of Polycarp in the History of Christianity,” Early Christianity 1:4 (2010): 539-574.
  • “The Transfiguration: An Exercise in Markan Accommodation,” Biblical Interpretation 12:4(2004): 69-89.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Articles by Candida Moss's Profile | BBC, CNN, MSN Journalist | Muck Rack". muckrack.com. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  2. ^ a b Grig, Lucy (2013). "Review: [Untitled]" (book review). The Journal of Religion. 93 (3): 413–416. doi:10.1086/670277. JSTOR 10.1086/670277. Reviewed Works: The Other Christs: Imitating Jesus in Ancient Christian Ideologies of Martyrdom by Moss, Candida; Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions by Moss, Candida.
  3. ^ Moss, Candida & UND Staff (19 July 2017). "Candida R. Moss [people/faculty profile page]". Theology.ND.edu. South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame (UND), Department of Theology. Archived from the original on 19 July 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2013. Candida R. Moss... Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity/Biblical Studies/Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity/History of Christianity/Education/ 2008 Ph.D., Yale University (New Testament) / 2004 M.A., M.Phil., Yale University (New Testament) / 2002 M.A.R., Yale Divinity School (Biblical Studies) / 2000 B.A. University of Oxford (Theology).
  4. ^ a b https://pls.nd.edu/assets/434004/2009programma.pdf
  5. ^ a b c "Putting aside our assumptions makes us better readers of the Bible, says Candida Moss '02 M.A.R. '08 Ph.D. | Yale Divinity School". divinity.yale.edu. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  6. ^ "Adela Collins: Overcoming obstacles to shed important light on the Bible | Yale Divinity School". divinity.yale.edu. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  7. ^ a b "Professor Candida Moss joins Department of Theology & Religion". University of Birmingham. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  8. ^ LeBlanc, Marc. "Candida Moss". Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  9. ^ "Professor Candida Moss". University of Birmingham. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  10. ^ "Review of: Divine Bodies: Resurrecting Perfection in the New Testament and Early Christianity". Bryn Mawr Classical Review.
  11. ^ a b FIIT Staff (4 April 2023). "Winners of the John Templeton / Manfred Lautenschläger Award for Theological Promise 2007-2019: The John Templeton Award of Theological Promise Winners 2011". uni-heidelberg.de/fiit. Heidelberg, Germany: Universität Heidelberg, Forschungszentrum Internationale und Interdisziplinäre Theologie (FIIT). Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  12. ^ "Review of: Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions. Anchor Yale Bible reference library". Bryn Mawr Classical Review. ISSN 1055-7660.
  13. ^ Moss 2013, p. 124.
  14. ^ Moss 2013, p. 159.
  15. ^ "Best Books 2017 Publishers Weekly". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  16. ^ Jones, Sarah (13 October 2017). "We're All Living in Hobby Lobby's Bible Nation". The New Republic. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  17. ^ Posner, Sarah (17 November 2017). "How one evangelical family is reshaping politics, law and religious research". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  18. ^ Ryan, Salvador (19 March 2024). "A biblical revelation: how non-Christian slaves wrote the New Testament". Irish Independent. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  19. ^ Rey, Daniel (23 March 2024). "New Light on the New Testament". The Spectator. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  20. ^ Farrington, Timothy (24 March 2024). "The Hidden Figures Who Spread the Gospel". The New York Times Book Review. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  21. ^ Thonemann, Peter (29 March 2024). "'God's Ghostwriters' Review: the Bible's Hidden Contributors". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  22. ^ "God's Ghostwriters". Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  23. ^ https://elsevier.digitalcommonsdata.com/datasets/btchxktzyw/6
  24. ^ "Praise for God's Ghostwriters". Hachette Book Group. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  25. ^ "Moss, God's Ghostwriters". Variant Readings. Retrieved 4 June 2024.
  26. ^ "Candida Moss". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  27. ^ Candida; Moss; Baden, Joel (8 December 2014). "Op-Ed: Pope Francis' woman problem". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  28. ^ Candida Moss. "The Political Genius of Pope Francis". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  29. ^ Moss, Candida (24 May 2021). "Opinion | I'm a Vaccinated Transplant Recipient. I Don't Have Antibodies. Now What?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  30. ^ Candida; Moss (24 March 2024). "The Hidden History of Those Who Wrote the Christian Story". Time. Retrieved 31 March 2024.
  31. ^ Moss, Candida (24 March 2020). "When faith threatens public health". CNN. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  32. ^ "Opinion | Five myths about the Nativity". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  33. ^ "The Myths Behind the Age of Martyrs". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  34. ^ "Candida R. Moss". Times Higher Education (THE). 12 February 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  35. ^ Baden, Joel and Candida Moss (January 30, 2017). "Exclusive: Feds Investigate Hobby Lobby Boss for Illicit Artifacts". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  36. ^ Garvey, Michael O. "Father Jenkins, faculty to offer public commentary during Pope Francis' American visit". Notre Dame News. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  37. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Early Christian Martyrdom". BBC. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  38. ^ Goodacre, Mark (14 February 2013). "More Bible Series News and Video Clips". NT Blog. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  39. ^ Search for the head of John The Baptist (2012) BG Audio, retrieved 3 May 2023
  40. ^ Bill (7 April 2014). "TRAVEL CHANNEL'S VATICAN "MYSTERY"". Catholic League. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  41. ^ "Paramount Press Express | Smithsonian Channel | SIEGE OF MASADA". www.paramountpressexpress.com. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  42. ^ "Influential Women in Religious Studies From the Last 10 Years | Academic Influence". academicinfluence.com. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  43. ^ "Acknowledgments". academic.oup.com. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  44. ^ Heffernan, Thomas J. (18 June 2012). Passio SS. Perpetuae Et Felicitatis Engl. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 978-0-19-977757-0.
  45. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20181125161941/http://www.snts.international/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/SNTS-Minutes-Perth-2013.pdf
  46. ^ https://mythvisionpodcast.com/females-in-academia/
  47. ^ "Candida R. Moss // Faculty // Department of Theology // University of Notre Dame". 19 July 2017. Archived from the original on 19 July 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  48. ^ "Best Books 2017 Publishers Weekly". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  49. ^ https://www.catholicbiblical.org/news/2023-grants-from-the-cba-awarded
  50. ^ https://independent.academia.edu/MossCandida/CurriculumVitae
  51. ^ https://www.sbl-site.org/membership/StatusofWomenMentoringAwards.aspx
  52. ^ https://www.amacad.org/new-members-2024
  53. ^ Moss, Candida (23 April 2022). "I'm a Vaccinated Transplant Patient. I don't have antibodies. Now what?". New York Times. No. May 23, 2021.
  54. ^ Moss, Candida (9 June 2022), "The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom", MythVision Podcast, event occurs at 2:52, retrieved 25 January 2024, Myth of Persecution I wrote when I taught at the University of Notre Dame, which as you know is a very Catholic institution, and it was written during the Obama years and at the time I was hearing a lot from my fellow Catholics at Notre Dame about how Christians were under attack in the United States just like they always had been since the beginning.
  55. ^ a b "Candida Moss, Justin Foa". The New York Times. 8 April 2018. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  56. ^ "Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage Guide". Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage. No. 2019. 18 April 2024.
  57. ^ Matt Webb Mitovich (24 May 2021). "Barrett Foa Reflects on His NCIS: LA Run and Finale Sendoff: 'I Love That I Got to Have One Family for So Long'". Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  58. ^ Moss, Candida (8 May 2022). "In Praise of Stepmothers, the Scapegoats of Fairy Tales". The Daily Beast.
  59. ^ "The Death of Jesus and the Rise of the Christian Persecution Myth - review". The Daily Beast. 31 March 2013.; Miller, Laura (24 February 2013). ""The Myth of Persecution": Early Christians weren't persecuted". Salon.; Daly, Maureen (27 March 2013). "The long shadow of the martyr myth". National Catholic Reporter. Archived from the original on 13 June 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2013.; Blake, John (30 March 2013). "Christ was persecuted, but what about Christians?". CNN Belief Blog. Archived from the original on 2 May 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2013.; Radner, Ephraim (May 2013). "Unmythical Martyrs A review of The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom". First Things.; "THE MYTH OF PERSECUTION How Early Christians Invented a Story of Persecution". Kirkus Reviews. 26 November 2012.

External links[edit]