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Lee M. Jefferson

Nelson D. and Mary McDowell Rodes Associate Professor of Religion

Chair Social Science Studies Division

Offices & Programs


BA - University of the South-Sewanee
MDiv. - Southern Methodist University
MA - Vanderbilt University
PhD - Vanderbilt University


Lee Jefferson is the Nelson D. and Mary McDowell Rodes Associate Professor of Religion. Prior to coming to Centre in 2008, Jefferson taught courses at Memphis Theological Seminary and at Vanderbilt University, both in various areas of the Christian tradition. His primary area of interest is the development of the Christian tradition and art and imagery of Late Antiquity. He graduated cum laude from Sewanee-University of the South and earned his M.Div. from Southern Methodist University (magna cum laude). He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in religion from Vanderbilt University.

He has published articles on different aspects of early Christianity in Religion and the Arts, Studia Patristica, Religion Compass, the Sewanee Theological Review, the SBL Bible Odyssey, the Yale ISM Review, and the Biblical Archaeology Review. His book reviews have appeared in Review of Biblical Literature, Religious Studies Review, Church History, and the Journal of Early Christian Studies.

He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (DeGruyter) and the Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity (Brill). Jefferson teaches widely across various aspects of different religious traditions. He teaches introductory courses in Christianity and biblical studies as well as first-year seminars on contemporary topics such as Marvel superheroes and religion. He developed a study abroad course on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain where he has traveled extensively.

Currently, he is developing a study abroad course in England walking the pilgrimage trails to Canterbury and to Durham Cathedral. His book, Christ the Miracle Worker in Early Christian Art(Fortress Press, 2014) concerns the early images of the miracles of Jesus. His second book, a collection of essays including a chapter he authored, and co-edited with Robin M. Jensen, is entitled The Art of Empire: Christian Art in Its Imperial Context and was published in October 2015.

His current volume is an edited collection of essays in honor of Robin M. Jensen, Death and Rebirth in Late Antiquity (Lexington Books/Rowman and Littlefield, 2022). He won the Kirk Award for Teaching Excellence in 2011 and was named a Centre Scholar in 2014. He is also a Shohet Scholar, having won the Shohet Scholars Award from the International Catacomb Society in 2013. 


  • Society of Biblical Literature
  • North American Patristics Society
  • Historical Society of the Episcopal Church


  • Christ the Miracle Worker in Early Christian Art (Fortress, 2014)
  • The Art of Empire: Christian Art in its Imperial Context, ed. with Robin M. Jensen (Fortress, 2015)
  • Death and Rebirth in Late Antiquity: A Study in Early Christian Art and Theology, Essays in Honor of Robin M. Jensen (Lexington Books/Rowman and Littlefield, 2022).

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