Loyola University Chicago

Department of Theology

Faculty & Staff Directory

Olivia Stewart Lester, PhD

Title/s:  Assistant Professor, New Testament and Early Christianity

Office #:  Crown Center 329

Phone: 8 - 2351



Dr. Olivia Stewart Lester is Assistant Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Loyola University Chicago. She received a PhD in Religious Studies (New Testament) from Yale University (2017), an MDiv (2010) and STM (New Testament, 2011) from Yale Divinity School, and a BA from Southeastern University (2007). Before arriving at Loyola, she was a John Fell Postdoctoral Fellow in the Bible and the Humanities Project at Oriel College, University of Oxford, and a Visiting Scholar at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (2017 - ­18).

Her research focuses on prophecy in Hellenistic Judaism, early Christianity, and the larger ancient Mediterranean. Her first book is entitled Prophetic Rivalry, Gender, and Economics: A Study in Revelation and Sibylline Oracles 4­ - 5 (Mohr Siebeck, 2018). The book adds to a growing body of scholarship challenging widespread narratives about prophecy’s decline in the early Roman imperial period and examines constructions of true and false prophecy at the intersections of interpretation, gender, and economics.

She is currently working on projects related to Apollo in Jewish and Christian texts and material culture and the making of the Jewish-Christian Sibylline Oracles.

Research Interests

Gender, Religion and Violence, Prophecy, Ancient Economies, Pseudepigraphy, The Book of Revelation, Sibylline Oracles, Hellenistic Judaism, Biblical Interpretation

Selected Publications

Prophetic Rivalry, Gender, and Economics: A Study in Revelation and Sibylline Oracles 4­ - 5 (WUNT II: Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018).

“Jezebel: A Study in Prophecy, Divine Violence, and Gender.” Pages 509-22 in New Perspectives on the Book of Revelation, ed. Adela Yarbro Collins (BETL 291; Leuven: Peeters, 2017).

“‘I Will Speak . . . With My Whole Person in Ecstasy’: Instrumentality and Independence in the Sibylline Oracles.” Pages 1232-46 in Sibyls, Scriptures, and Scrolls: John Collins at Seventy, ed. Joel Baden, Hindy Najman, and Eibert Tigchelaar (2 vols.; Leiden: Brill, 2017).