- Erstes Staatsexamen, University of Hamburg
- Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary
Ute Possekel is Lecturer on Syriac for 2019–20 at Harvard Divinity School. Dr. Possekel joined the adjunct faculty at HDS in 2014, and has taught courses in elementary, intermediate, and advanced Syriac since then. Her research and teaching interests focus on Syriac language and the history of Syriac-speaking communities, especially their cultural and religious expressions, their theology, and their interaction with neighboring linguistic and religious communities.
Her publications include a monograph on Ephrem the Syrian and articles on diverse topics, including christology, the philosopher-theologian Bardaisan of Edessa, ancient mosaics with inscriptions, the School of Nisibis, and the Christians and pagans in Harran. Her current project is a co-authored text edition and translation of sixth-century treatises on Nativity and Epiphany, titled Thomas of Edessa’s Explanations of the Feasts: Liturgy, Learning, and Exegesis in Late Antique Persia, Oxford Early Christian Texts (forthcoming).
Dr. Possekel serves as Review Editor for Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies and is actively engaged in a number of collaborative projects, some of them in the field of Digital Humanities. She is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Biblical Literature, the North American Patristics Society, and the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey.
In the classroom, Dr. Possekel seeks to foster a collaborative and supportive atmosphere. Instruction in Syriac language is supplemented with discussions on the history and literature of Syriac-speaking communities. Her courses also introduce students to the fundamentals of working with Syriac manuscripts and draw on the rich manuscript collection of Houghton Library.