Current Position

  • Research Fellow, Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University, Australia from August 2017 to the present

Past Positions

  • Instructor in Early Christianity, Virginia Tech Department of Religion and Culture, USA from August 2016 to June 2017
  • Lecturer in Classics, College of William & Mary, USA from January to May 2016
  • Lecturer in Classics, University of Virginia, USA from January 2013 to May 2015


  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) University of Virginia
  • Master of Theology (Th.M.) Duke University
  • Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Emory University



  1. Desiring Divinity: Self-deification in Ancient Jewish and Christian Mythmaking. Forthcoming from Oxford University Press, 2016.
  2. Refutation of All Heresies: Text, Translation, and Notes, Writings from the Greco-Roman World 40 (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2015).
  3. Iesus Deus: The Early Christian Depiction of Jesus as a Mediterranean God (Minneapolis: Fortress Academic, 2014).
  4. Becoming Divine: An Introduction to Deification in Western Culture (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2013)
  5. We Are Being Transformed: Deification in Paul’s Soteriology (Beihefte zum Zeitschrift für Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 187; Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2012).

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

  1. “Paul the ‘god’ in Acts 28: A Comparison with Philoctetes,” Journal of Biblical Literature 136:3 (2017): 707-726.
  2. “You are Gods”: Deification in the Naassene Writer and Clement of Alexandria,” Harvard Theological Review, 110:1 (2017): 125-48.
  3. “Gnostic Self-deification: The Case of Simon of Samaria,” Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies 1 (2016): 157-76.
  4. “Phikola: A Mysteries Goddess at Phlya,” Religion in the Roman Empire 2:2 (2016): 279-93.
  5. “‘I Will Become Him’: Homology and Deification in the Gospel of Thomas,” Journal of Biblical Literature, 133:2 (2015): 427-47.
  6. “The Deification of Moses in Philo of Alexandria” The Studia Philonica Annual 26 (2014): 1-27.
  7. “The Wondrous Exchange: Irenaeus and Eastern Valentinians on the Soteriology of Interchange,” The Journal of Early Christian Studies 22 (2014): 311-41.
  8. “The God ‘Human’ and Human Gods: Models of Deification in Irenaeus and the Apocryphon of John,” Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum 18 (2014): 70-94.
  9. “Transformation through a Mirror: Moses in 2 Cor 3:18,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 34 (2012): 286-97.
  10. Paul’s Mosaic Ascent: An Interpretation of 2 Cor 12:7-9,” New Testament Studies 57 (2011): 238-57.
  11. “Self Sacrifice to Save the Life of Another in Jewish and Christian Traditions: A Comparative Analysis,” Heythrop Journal 50:6 (2009): 912-922.

Under Contract

  1. Hermetica II: The Excerpts of Stobaeus, Papyrus Fragments, and Testimonies in a new English Translation with Notes and Introductions with Cambridge University Press.


  • Presiding
    • Esotericism and Mysticism in Antiquity session 1: Early Judaism (Society of Biblical Literature, 2014
  • Steering Committee for Bible, Myth, and Myth Theory, Society of Biblical Literature from 2015 to the present




  •   Greek
  •   Hebrew
  •   Latin
  •   Coptic
  •    French
  •    German
  •    Italian
  •    Spanish

Professional Society Membership

  • The American Academy of Religion (AAR)
  • The Society of Biblical Literature (SBL)
  • The American Philological Association (APA)

Conference Papers

  • Nov 2009: “Paul’s Mosaic Ascent: An Interpretation of 2 Cor 12:7-9” delivered to the SBL 2 Corinthians Group
  • Nov 2010: “Transformation through a Mirror: Moses in 2 Cor 3:18,”delivered to the SBL Pauline Epistles Group.
  • Nov 2012: “Jesus, Hermes and Dionysus: The Divine Child in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas” delivered to the SBL Christian Apocrypha Group
  • Nov 2013: “The Gospel of Gemination: Deification in the Gospel of Thomas,” delivered to the Esotericism and Mysticism in Antiquity Group
  • Nov 2014: “You shall be as Gods!” Naassene and Simonian Types of Deification,” delivered to the SBL Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism Group
  • March 2015: “Gnostic Self-deification: Real Claim or Heresiological Construction?” delivered to the Gnostic Countercultures Conference, Rice University
  • Nov 2015: “‘I am God’: The Primal Human as Primeval Self-deifier,” delivered to the SBL Bible, Myth and Myth Theory Group
  • Nov 2015: “Self-knowledge in Monoïmos and the Hermetic Corpus,” delivered to the SBL Mysticism, Esotericism and Gnosticism in Antiquity Group
  • May 2016: “Jesus Christ and Mythology” delivered to the New Perspectives Group, Goshen Indiana on May 22, 2016.
  • October 2017: “Literary Eyewitnesses: The Appeal to an Eyewitness in John and Contemporaneous Literature,” delivered to the Biblical and Early Christian Studies Research Seminar, Australian Catholic University

2 comments on “About

  1. Richard R. Schaefer says:

    Dear Dr. Litwa,

    I have recently read your fine article, “I Will Become Him,” in the JBL, and two things struck me. The first is that your article seems to support the findings/assertions that I make in my recently published book on the truth to which Jesus testified, as that truth is represented in the Gospel of John. The second thing is that my book might provide ideas and inspiration for your further work.

    I would like to send you a copy of my book, The Truth Is, on the chance that you might have time to look at it – especially chapters 5 (Life and Death), 6 (Eternal Life), and 7 (Son of Man/Son of God). If you would like a copy, all I need is an address to which I can send it. In any case, the book is available on Amazon.com (just punch in The Truth Is and Schaefer).

    Thanks for your article, and your time,

    Richard R. (Rick) Schaefer

  2. […] Depiction of Jesus as a Mediterranean God”. After checking the author credentials (He has a polished qualifications on greek and ancient greek studies and being a historian and Greek specialist rather than a theologian, he does not seem biased in […]

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