Dr. Brent Nongbri is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Research Fellow in the Department of Ancient History at Macquarie University. He received his PhD from Yale University in 2008 in the field of religious studies. He held teaching posts at Yale University and Oberlin College before coming to Macquarie in 2010 as a post-doctoral research fellow in early Christianity.
Brent's interests center on method and theory in the study of religion and the material culture of the ancient Mediterranean world. With regard to the former, he is especially interested in problems surrounding the use of religion as category for studying the ancient world. This interest has culminated in the recent publication of his first book, Before Religion: a History of a Modern Concept (Yale University Press, 2013).
In the sphere of material culture and archaeology, Brent specializes in papyrology and early Christian manuscripts. His current research project centers on early Christian Greek literary papyri, with the aim of reassessing the dates assigned to these papyri and examining the social history of the publication of the papyri in the early 20th century.
A number of Brent's publications are available for download on his Academia.edu profile page.
Brent Nongbri talks to Jack Tsonis about his recent book, "Before Religion: a History of a Modern Concept". Nongbri provides an overview of the history of "religion" as a concept in the English speaking world, highlighting that the seemingly "natural" or "obvious" definition of the term is actually highly specific to the modern West.