Dr. Friesen is the Director of Graduate Studies for Classics.
Before coming to the University of Arizona in 2015, Dr. Friesen taught in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford. He holds a Ph.D. in Classical and Near Eastern Studies from the University of Minnesota (2013). His research concerns intersections of Greek literature with the religious worlds of ancient Jews and Christians. In 2015, he published his first monograph, Reading Dionysus, which received the 2016 Manfred Lautenschläger Award for Theological Promise from the Forschungszentrum Internationale und Interdisziplinäre Theologie at the University of Heidelberg. A subsequent essay, “Gluttony and Drunkenness as Jewish and Christian Virtues: From the Comic Heracles to Christ in the Gospels,” earned the 2017 Paul J. Achtemeier Award for New Testament Scholarship from Society of Biblical Literature.
His current projects include a volume edited with David Runia and David Lincicum to be published with Oxford University Press on the reception of Philo of Alexandria from the first century to the present; and a monograph exploring religion and the receptions of classical theater (tragedy, comedy, and satyr drama) in the early centuries of the Common Era.
At Arizona, Dr. Friesen teaches all levels of Classical Greek as well as courses on the New Testament, early Christianity, and Greek and Roman religion and culture.
Selected Publications (https://arizona.academia.edu/CourtneyFriesen):
Reading Dionysus: Euripides’ Bacchae and the Cultural Contestations of Greeks, Jews, Romans, and Christians. Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum 95. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2015.
Envisioning God in the Humanities: Essays on Christianity, Judaism, and Ancient Religion in Honor of Melissa Harl Sellew, Editor. Westar Seminar on God and the Human Future. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2018.
Articles and Chapters:
“Make Thebes Great Again: The Bacchae of Euripides in the Age of Trump.” Society 54 (forthcoming). https://rdcu.be/cEXOR
“The Bible, the Trump Presidency, and the Politics of Exegesis.” Postscripts 13 (2022): 1–26.
“Heracles between Slavery and Freedom: Subversive Textual Appropriation in Philo of Alexandria.” Pages 151–68 in Reading Other Peoples’ Texts: Social Identity and the Reception of Authoritative Traditions. Edited by Ken Brown, Brennan Breed, and Alison Joseph. Scriptural Traces: Critical Perspectives on the Reception and Influence of the Bible. London: Bloomsbury, 2020.
“Attending Euripides: Philo of Alexandria’s Dramatic Appropriations.” Pages 259–74 in Euripides-Rezeption in Kaiserzeit und Spätantike. Edited by Michael Schramm. Millennium Studies 83. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2020.
“Heracles and Philo of Alexandria: The Son of Zeus between Torah and Philosophy, Empire and Stage.” Pages 176–99 in Philo and Greek Myth: Narratives, Allegories, and Arguments. Edited by Francesca Alesse and Ludovica De Luca. Studies in Philo of Alexandria 10. Leiden: Brill, 2019.
“Introduction: An Appreciation.” Pages xv–xxi in Envisioning God in the Humanities: Essays on Christianity, Judaism, and Ancient Religion in Honor of Melissa Harl Sellew. Edited by Courtney Friesen. Westar Seminar on God and the Human Future. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2018.
“Gluttony and Drunkenness as Jewish and Christian Virtues: From the Comic Heracles to Christ in the Gospels.” Pages 243–61 in Envisioning God in the Humanities: Essays on Christianity, Judaism, and Ancient Religion in Honor of Melissa Harl Sellew. Edited by Courtney Friesen. Westar Seminar on God and the Human Future. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2018.
“Virtue and Vice on Stage: Philo of Alexandria’s Theatrical Ambivalences.” In Jews and Drama. Edited by Lutz Doering and Sandra Gambetti. Special Issue of Journal of Ancient Judaism 8 (2017): 241–56.
“Birthing the Children of God: Echoes of Theogony in Romans 8.19–23.” New Testament Studies 63 (2017): 246–60.
“Getting Samuel Sober: The ‘Plus’ of LXX 1 Sam 1:11 and Its Religious Afterlife in Philo and the Gospel of Luke.” Journal of Theological Studies 67 (2016): 453–78.
“Dying Like a Woman: Euripides’ Polyxena as Exemplum between Philo and Clement of Alexandria.” Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 56 (2016): 623–45.
“Paulus Tragicus: Staging Apostolic Adversity in First Corinthians.” Journal of Biblical Literature 134 (2015): 813–32.
“Translating Misfortune: The Problem of 1 Samuel 1:15 in the MT and the LXX.” Vetus Testamentum 65 (2015): 649–53.
“Hannah’s ‘Hard Day’ and Hesiod’s ‘Two Roads’: Poetic Wisdom in Philo’s De ebrietate.” Journal for the Study of Judaism 46 (2015): 44–64.
“Dionysus as Jesus: The Incongruity of a Love Feast in Achilles Tatius’s Leucippe and Clitophon 2.2.” Harvard Theological Review 107 (2014): 222–40.
“Tragödie.” Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum. Edited by Theodor Klauser et al. Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 1950–, forthcoming.
“The Greek Language.” Pages 300–13 in The Biblical World. 2nd ed. Edited by Katharine J. Dell. London: Routledge, 2021.
Book reviews in Bryn Mawr Classical Review, Classical Review, Journal of Theological Studies, Political Theology, Religion, Religious Studies Review, and Review of Biblical Literature.
Magazine Articles (Online):
“A Creed for the Credulous.” Current (September 29, 2021). link
“Grab ’em by the Bible? Wayne Grudem and Trumpian Biblical Ethics.” Sojourners – Sojo.net (August 29, 2018).