Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies

Prof GA van den Heever

College of Human Sciences
School of Humanities
Department: Biblical and Ancient Studies
Tel: 012 429 4429


  • MTh (Religious Studies) (South Africa, 1993)
  • DLitt et Phil (Religious Studies) (South Africa, 2005)

NRF Rating


Fields of academic interests

  • Cult Formation in the Early Roman Empire
  • Gospel of John as Imperial Text
  • New Religious Movements
  • Critical Spatiality Theory applied to Literary Studies

Field of Specialisation

  • New Testament Studies
  • Early Christian Studies
  • Religious Studies


Book chapters:

  • “X-Files, The Matrix, and Strange Tales of the Beyond: Truth, Fiction, and Social Discourse”, in Ancient Fiction, ed. Sara Johnson, forthcoming.*
  • “The Origins and Growth of Christianity in Egypt: An Early Centre of Creative Production and Diversity,” in Routledge Handbook on Christianity in Africa, edited by Elias Bongmba (New York: Routledge, 2016), 61–78.*
  • Gerhard van den Heever, “Spatializing Practices at the Intersections: Representations and Production of Spaces – Theorizing an Approach,” in The Routledge Handbook of Literature and Space, edited by Robert T. Tally (New York: Routledge, 2017), 70–82.*

Journal articles

  • Gerhard van den Heever, “Spatialising Practices: Theory, Practice, Text. Towards a Redescriptive Companion to Graeco-Roman Antiquity.” Religion & Theology 20/3&4 (2013): 234–258
  • Gerhard van den Heever, “Introduction: Paul, Founder of Churches. Cult Foundations and the Comparative Study of Cult Origins.” Religion & Theology 20/3&4 (2013): 259–283
  • Gerhard van den Heever, “A Multiplicity of Washing Rites and a Multiplicity of Experiences. The Varied Discursive Framing of a Bodily Practice.” Religion & Theology 21/1&2 (2014): 142–158.
  • Gerhard van den Heever, “Introduction: Intersections of Discourses – Pliable Body, the Making of Religion, and Social Definition.” Religion & Theology 21/1&2 (2014): 1–19
  • Gerhard van den Heever, “What Do You Read When You Read a Religious Text? Open Question and Theses Towards an Anti-Hermeneutic.” Religion & Theology 22/3&4 (2015): 187–218
  • Gerhard van den Heever, “Naming the Moment: #ScienceMustFall, Power-Discourse-Knowledge, and Thinking Religion as Social Definition,” Religion & Theology 23/3&4 (2016): 237–273.
  • Gerhard van den Heever, “The Spectre of a Jewish Baptist Movement. A Space for Jewish Christianity?” Submitted to Annali di Storia dell’ Esegesi. Forthcoming.

Bibliography online:

  • “Early Christianity,” Oxford Bibliographies Online, Biblical Studies, 2015.

Professional positions, fellowships & awards

  • Chair: Greco-Roman Religions Section, Society of Biblical Literature
  • Executive Editor: Religion & Theology. A Journal of Contemporary Religious Discourse (with Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden), 1998–current


  • Redescribing Cult Formation in the Early Roman Empire
  • Spatialising Practices: Landscapes, Mindscapes, Socioscapes
  • Christian Discourse and Culture