• Patrick G. Stefan, Ph.D.

    Hi there!

    I am a scholar of religion, Christian origins, and Michel Foucault. More specifically, my research intersects continental philosophy and the ways by which religious rhetoric shapes subjectivity through historical periods. My Ph.D. is in the Study of Religion from the University of Denver and the Iliff School of Theology. 


    I am also an Army Chaplain interested in religion and culture in our modern climate. This website provides an introduction to my research, as well as resources for my seminary students.

  • How I Got Here

    my background:

    Research is often, if not always, primed and prepared by the personal story that came before it. My interest in the study of religion began in 2003, while in the Marines and deployed to Iraq. I was 19 years old and part of the invading force. During that time the world became very uncertain and unstable to me. Thus began my pursuit to know more about humanity, the cosmos, and the ways by which we relate to God.

    I finished ten years of active service in the Marines, and completed my B.S. and M.Div. in night school. Then, I transferred to the Army Reserves to serve as a Chaplain, while I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology. During that time I served as clergy, while also serving as an Army Reserve Chaplain in Combat Operational Stress Control for three years, and then in Civil Affairs for four years.

  • Teaching Experience

    Reformed Theological Seminary, DC (2013-Present)

    Visiting Professor of New Testament

    Graduate Teaching Assistant (2012-2014)
    • Christianity and Science in Dialogue - Univ. of Denver
    • Introduction to the New Testament - Iliff School of Theology
    • Christianity in Antiquity - Iliff School of Theology
    • The Bible as Literature - Univ. of Denver
    • Introduction to Theological Studies - Iliff School of Theology
    Graduate Research Assistant (2013)
    • Theories of Translation, Univ. of Denver - Dr. Alison Schofield

  • Stuff I've Published and Presented

    Here's where you can find my past works

    Books and Monographs:


    The Power of Resurrection: Foucault, Discipline, and Early Christian Resistance. Lanham MD: Fortress Academic, Forthcoming.


    Book Summary:

    This book resides at the intersection of Christian Origins and Continental Philosophy. In short, it documents the rise of the disciplined subject commensurate with the rise of Christianity by proposing that the early success of the Christian movement was due, in large part, to the activation and deployment of disciplinary mechanisms of power through the instantiation of the idea of resurrection in early Christian material and textual existence. The activation of these mechanisms created a sub-class of disciplined individuals who now had the ability to envision life outside of the sovereign power of Caesar.

    I employ Foucault’s methodology of examining how material conditions shape and create individual subjects, and I take as my point of departure Foucault’s unexplored observation that “[Christianity] proposed and spread new power relations throughout the ancient world.”[1] From this I argue that these power relations were the beginnings of disciplinary power and contributed to early Christian expansion. This book will be of interest to scholars and lay-readers of early Christianity, as well as scholars of Foucault and power. I propose a new, theory-based approach to Christian origins, and I also expand upon Foucault’s idea that disciplinary power has a long history behind it.

    This project is broad in nature as Foucault’s theory requires this, and it depends at times on larger scholarly generalizations. It does not neglect diversity but often relegates that diversity to the footnotes to emphasize instead how larger changes shaped early Christian existence


    [1] Michel Foucault, “Why Study Power? The Question of the Subject,” in Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics, eds. Hubert L. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 214.


    Published Book Chapters and Book Reviews:

    • Review of Enlisting Faith: How the Military Chaplaincy shaped Religion and State in Modern America by Ronit Y. Stahl in Religious Studies Review, Wiley-Blackwell - Forthcoming

    Academic Conference Presentations:

    • "Slavery and Power Construction: Is Pauline Slavery Language Part of a Larger Empire Shift?" International Society of Biblical Literature Conference - Universiteit Van Amsterdam
    • "Blood and Sand: The Motif of War in Jewish Apocalypticism" Annual Society of Biblical Literature Conference - Baltimore, MD; and The Southern Humanities Council - Savanah, GA
    • "Fichte's Critique of All Revelation and Modern Morality" - Annual Religion and Society Conference - Arizona State University
    • "Early Christian Architecture and Nascent Forms of Power" - Annual Society of Biblical Literature Conference - Boston, MA.

    Stuff for the Church:

    • "Ephesians for Everyday Life," Midwest Presbytery (RPCNA) Youth Retreat
    • "Letting the Parables Change your Life" Alleghenies Presbytery (RPCNA) Youth Retreat
    • "The Challenge of Acts" - St. Lawrence Presbytery (RPCNA) Youth Retreat
    • The Gospel and Empire," White Lake Family Camp (RPCNA)
    Selected Blog Posts:

  • Research Areas, Interests, and Languages

    Then and Now

    Areas of Research

    Theory and the Study of Religion, Christianity in Antiquity, New Testament Interpretation, Pauline Epistles, Gospels, Acts, The History of Hermeneutics, Cultural Theory, Identity Theory, Foucault and Theory of Power, Second Temple Judaism, Roman Religion, Material Christianity (100-300 CE), Theorizing the Rise of Christianity

    Future Research Interests

    I am currently interested in two fields of study:


    1) My next project will explore Foucault's articulation of the soul and the ways by which his articulation interacts with the Christian conception of the soul post-fourth century.


    2) I am also interested in the interaction between religion and identity in modern warfare and the modern Soldier.

    Language Competency

    • Greek (Koine)
    • Coptic (Sahidic)
    • Hebrew (biblical)
    • French (reading)
    • Aramaic (biblical)


    • Society of Biblical Literature
    • American Academy of Religion
    • North American Patristics Society
  • Military Service

    While on this Journey of Scholarship, I have served in the US Armed Forces for over 17 Years. Here's a synopsis of my path

    2001 - 2012

    US Marine Corps

    I enlisted in the Marines at 17 years old, before 9/11. In 2003 I was deployed with my unit to Iraq for the invasion of the country (OIF I). After returning I spent a year in Okinawa, Japan, and did a two additional enlistments as Active Duty in support of the Reserves. During this time I served as a transportation driver for ammunition and supplies, and then as a Career Counselor. I was also the coordinator for the Baltimore Region Toys for Tots campaign in 2010.


    My time in combat is what drew me toward the study of religion, and it has also encouraged scholarly inquiry along the way. My first presentation at the annual SBL conference asked why war is always the governing motif for Jewish apocalyptic literature.

    2012 - Present

    US Army Reserves

    When I started my Ph.D. program, I transitioned from the Marines to the Army Chaplain Corps. I served for three years as a Chaplain in Combat Operational Stress Control. Following my move to Rochester, NY, I became the Chaplain for a Civil Affairs Battalion.


    In the former position I was able to use my research in identity theory and construction to help Soldiers and to connect with my colleagues who were psychiatrists, psychologists, and Social Workers.


    In the latter position I have used my research on theory and religion to develop robust courses which have helped Soldiers understand the complex relationship between religion, culture, ritual, and theory.

  • Say hello!

    Don't be afraid to reach out.