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


  • BA Hons (Philosophy) (Pretoria, 1979) cum laude
  • MTh (Religious Studies) (South Africa, 1993) cum laude
  • DLitt et Phil (Religious Studies) (South Africa, 2005)

NRF Rating


Fields of academic interests

  • Cult Formation in the Early Roman Empire
  • History of Religion
  • Christian Origins
  • 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:

  • Gerhard van den Heever, “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, N.Y.: Routledge, 2016), 61—78.
  • Gerhard van den Heever, “Spatializing Practices at the Intersections: Representations and Productions of Spaces,” in The Routledge Handbook of Literature and Space, ed. Robert T. Tally Jr. (Abingdon; New York, N.Y.: Routledge, 2017), 70—82.
  • Gerhard van den Heever, “Space Odyssey: From Place to Lived Space,” in Teaching Space, Place, and Literature, edited by Robert T. Tally Jr. (Abingdon; New York, NY: Routledge, 2017), 13—22.
  • Gerhard van den Heever, “Grotesque and Strange … Tales of the Beyond: Truth, Fiction, and Social Discourse”, in Reading and Teaching Ancient Fiction: Greco-Roman, Early Jewish, and Christian Narrative, ed. Sara Johnson, Richard Pervo, and Christine Shea, Greco-Roman World Supplement Series (Atlanta, Ga.: SBL Press, 2018), forthcoming.
  • Gerhard van den Heever, “The Usefulness of Violent Ends. Apocalyptic Imaginaries in the Reconstruction of Society,” in Reconceiving Religious Conflict. New Views from the Formative Centuries of Christianity, ed. Chris de Wet and Wendy Mayer, Routledge Studies in the Early Christian World (Abingdon; New York, N.Y.: Routledge, 2018), 282–325.

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?” Annali di Storia dell’ Esegesi 34/1 (2017): 43—69.

Bibliography online:

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

Professional positions, fellowships & awards

  • Chair: Greco-Roman Religions Section, Society of Biblical Literature
  • Co-chair: Early Christian Studies group, New Testament Society of Southern Africa
  • Member: Editorial board of Neotestamentica
  • Executive Editor: Religion & Theology. A Journal of Contemporary Religious Discourse (with Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden), 1998 –


  • Redescribing Cult Formation in the Early Roman Empire
  • Spatialising Practices: Landscapes, Mindscapes, Socioscapes
  • Christian Discourse and Culture
  • Mapping Transformations Towards a Christian Late Antiquity
  • Twilights of Greek and Roman Religions