New College Lecture Takes You to Rome’s Jewish Catacombs

Published on Friday, January 12th, 2018 by David Gulliver

The Jewish catacombs of ancient Rome, the final resting place of thousands, date to the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and are decorated with frescoes and epitaphs.

Nicola Denzey Lewis is an expert in the burial practices of Roman citizens in the city’s many catacombs, and what they can reveal about ordinary people in the past.

In “Rethinking the Jewish Catacombs,” a lecture and discussion at New College of Florida on Tuesday, Jan. 16, she will re-examine what we can know about the Jews of Rome in the late Roman Empire from the material and anthropological evidence of the catacombs.

The lecture, part of New College’s New Topics discussion series, is sponsored by New College of Florida, The Klingenstein Chair of Judaic Studies and The Jay Rudolph Endowment.

Denzey Lewis is the Margot L. Goldsmith Chair in Women’s Studies in Religion at Claremont Graduate University in California. Previously, Denzey Lewis held positions at Brown University and Harvard University.

She is the author of The Bone Gatherers, as well as Introduction to Gnosticism: Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds and Cosmology, and Fate in Gnosticism and Graeco-Roman Antiquity: Under Pitiless Skies. Her research centers on the city of Rome during the Roman Empire and late antiquity. Her fourth book, “The Early Modern Invention of Late Antique Rome,” is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.

Denzey Lewis has received major research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies, along with additional support from, among other sources, the American Academy of Religion and the International Catacomb Society.

She has worked with CNN, the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, and Discovery on documentary series, and has conducted live news appearances for NBC and CNN and CBC Radio.

Denzey Lewis received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto and her master’s and doctorate from Princeton University.

“Rethinking The Jewish Catacombs”

Nicola Denzey Lewis, professor of women’s studies in religion

Presented by the Klingenstein Chair of Judaic Studies at New College of Florida

Tuesday, January 16, at 5:30 p.m.

Sainer Pavilion, 5313 Bay Shore Road

Admission is free; for reservations, call 487-4888 or visit