Shira L. Lander

Senior Lecturer and Director of Jewish Studies


Office: Hyer Hall 300J
Phone: 214-768-2157

Educational Background

B.A., Yale University, M.H.L., Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania


Dr. Shira L. Lander (B.A., Yale University, M.H.L., Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) is Senior Lecturer and Director of Jewish Studies specializing in late antique Judaism and Christianity. Her book, Ritual Spaces and Religious Rivalries in Late Roman North Africa (Cambridge, 2016), explores why religious groups competed over and destroyed sites considered holy. Lander previously was the Anna Smith Fine Senior Lecturer of Jewish Studies at Rice University, where she taught in the departments of Religious Studies and History. Before moving to Texas, she taught at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, St. Mary's Seminary and University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Delaware, and Princeton University. Her areas of interest include Jewish-Christian relations, sacred space, martyrdom, religious violence, and material culture. Her current research project explores images of synagogues in medieval manuscripts.

Courses Taught

  • A Persistent Prejudice: Antisemitism in Western Civilization
  • Judaism, Christianity and the Bible
  • Reel Judaism: Cinematic Representations of Jewish Life
  • Temples, Churches, and Synagogues in the Ancient Mediterranean
  • Introduction to Jewish Studies

Select Publications

  • Spatial Relations: Ritual Sites and Religious Rivalries in Late Roman North Africa, an examination of the battles for sacred space that took place in late Roman North Africa among Christians, pagans, and Jews. Cambridge University Press, 2017
  • “Locating Diaspora Jewish Philanthropy in the Ancient Mediterranean Public Arena” for Wiley-Blackwell A Companion to Jews and Judaism in the Late Ancient World: 3rd Century BCE - 7th Century CE (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World), ed. Gwynn Kessler and Naomi Koltun-Fromm, Wiley-Blackwell Press, 2020
  • “Lot’s Wife: On the Dangers of Looking Back,” pp. 179-202 in The Future of Interreligious Dialogue: A Multi-Religious Conversation on Nostra Aetate, ed. Charles Cohen, Paul Knitter, and Ulrich Rosenhagen, Orbis Books, 2017
  • "Commentary on 1 Corinthians," pp. 321-351 in The Jewish Annotated New Testament, ed. Marc Zvi Brettler and Amy-Jill Levine. Oxford University Press, 2011: 2017
  • “Perpetua and Felicitas,” first author with Ross S. Kraemer, pp. 976-995 in The Early Christian World v. 2, ed. Philip F. Esler, revised. Routledge Press, 2017
  • “Apocalypticism and Gender in Suzanne Collins’The Hunger Games trilogy," with Jordan Kraemer, pp. 165-174 in A Most Reliable Witness: Essays in Honor of Ross Shepard Kraemer, ed. Nate DesRosiers, Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Shira Lander, and Daniel Ullucci, Brown University Press, 2015
  • “The Role of the Religious Voice in the 21st Century—A Jewish Perspective,” pp. 77-94 in Religious Identity and Renewal in the Twenty-First Century: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Explorations, ed. Simone Sinn and Michael Reid Trice, Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2015
  • “Being a Child of Vatican II,” pp. 295-99 in A Jubilee for All Time. The Copernican Revolution in Jewish-Christian Relations, ed. Gilbert S. Rosenthal, Pickwick Publications, 2014
  • “Jewish Perspectives on Kasper's Contributions to Christian – Jewish Dialogue,” pp. 216-17 in Speaking Truth in Love. The Theology of Cardinal Walter Kasper, ed. Kristin M Colberg and Robert A Krieg, Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2014
  • “Inventing Synagogue Conversion: The Case of Late Roman North Africa,” Journal of Ancient Judaism 4.3 (2013): 401-416
  • “Jewish Identity and Peoplehood in Light of Catholic-Jewish Dialogue,” pp. 55-68 in Toward the Future. Essays on Catholic-Jewish Relations in Memory of Rabbi León Klenicki, ed. Celia M. Deutsch, Eugene J. Fisher, and James Rudin. Paulist Press, 2013
  • “Revealing the Hidden God in Ancient Synagogue Art,”  pp. 205-216 in Histories of the Hidden God: Concealment and Revelation in Western Gnostic, Esoteric and Mystical Traditions, ed. April DeConick and Grant Adamson, Gnostica Series. Acumen Publishing, 2013
  • “Supernatural Israel: Obstacles to Theological Humility in Jewish Tradition,” pp. 149-169 in Learned Ignorance: An Investigation into Humility in Interreligious Dialogue among Christians, Muslims and Jews, ed. James Heft, Reuven Firestone and Omid Safi. Oxford University Press, 2011


Lander was awarded a Brandeis Summer Israel Institute Fellowship in 2016, the Sarofim Teaching Prize in the Humanities at Rice University in 2013, and the Dunning Distinguished Faculty Lectureship at The Ecumenical Institute of St. Mary’s Seminary and University of Baltimore, MD in 2009.