Duke Divinity School Assistant Professor Maria E. Doerfler has been named a visiting research fellow at New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) for 2014-15. The fellowship will provide her with a $71,000 salary, research funding, and office space at ISAW’s headquarters in New York City.

The institute provides funding for research and graduate education in the history, archaeology, and culture of the entire Old World from late prehistoric times to the eighth century AD, including Asia and Africa.

Doerfler, assistant professor of the history of Christianity in Late Antiquity, will join five other visiting fellows of scholarly distinction or promise across different realms of ancient studies, with the expectation that the fellows will benefit from sustained conversation with one another and the scholarly community at ISAW in pursuing their respective projects.

During the fellowship, Doerfler will be working on her second book project, tentatively titled Jephthah’s Daughter, Sarah’s Son: Children, Death, and Scripture in Late Antiquity. The project seeks to address Christian responses to infant and childhood mortality during the fourth through sixth centuries of the Common Era.

Doerfler’s particular interest rests with the deployment of biblical stories in homilies, hymns, and other texts from this period to provide consolation, give voice to complaint, and otherwise narrate the experience of premature bereavement.