UMass Boston


Michael Motia

Classics and Religious Studies

Area of Expertise

Christianity, late antiquity, mysticism, asceticism, gender and sexuality, religion and literature


PhD, Harvard University

MDiv, Harvard Divinity School

BA, University of California at Santa Barbara

Professional Publications & Contributions

Selected Publications

  • Imitations of Infinity: Gregory of Nyssa and the Transformation of Mimesis, Divinations: Rereading Late Antiquity (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022)
  • "Bluets of Late Antiquity: Polychromy and Christian Mysticism," Studies in Late Antiquity 6 vol. 2 (2022): 335–69.
  • Studies in Late Antiquity 6 vol. 2 (2022): 35–369.
  • “Dionysius and Gregory of Nyssa,” in The Oxford Handbook to Dionysius the Areopagite, ed. Mark Edwards, Dimitrios Pallis, and George Steiris. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022, 109–21.
  • “‘Language is the author of all these emotions’: Greek Novels and Christian affect in Gregory of Nyssa’s Homilies on the Song of Songs,” Studia Patristica 115 (2021): 177–86
  • “Three Ways to Imitate Paul in Late Antiquity,” Harvard Theological Review 114, no. 1 (2021): 96–117.
  • “Gregory of Nyssa’s Shifting Scenes of Instruction,” Journal of Orthodox Christian Studies 3 no. 1 (2020): 51–69.

Additional Information

Selected Courses Offered

  • Symbol, Myth, Ritual (RELSTY 109)
  • Religions of the West (RELSTY 111)
  • Religion, Politics, Sex, and Violence (RELSTY 115g)
  • Religion and Film (RELSTY 218g)
  • Christian Origins: From Jesus to Constantine (RELSTY 242)
  • History of Christianity (RELSTY 245)
  • Spiritual not Religious: Secularism and Spirituality in America? (Honors 292)
  • Fall of Rome (CLSSCS/HIST/RELSTY 311)
  • Mysticism (RELSTY 312)