Bernadette McNary-Zak

Bernadette McNary-Zak

Associate Professor of Religious Studies, NEH Professor; On Sabbatical 2021-2022

Bernadette McNary-Zak received a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto (Center for the Study of Religion), with a focus on monastic behavior in the later Roman Empire. In 2013, she received the Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Teaching, and in 2015 she received the Jameson M. Jones Award for Outstanding Faculty Service. She is director for the 2019-2020 Early Career Religion Faculty Teaching Workshop with the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion. She also serves as the editor of the Journal of Theta Alpha Kappa. She is currently working on a study of the Poor Clares Monastery in Memphis.


Humble Aspiration: Constructing an Early Christian Ideal. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2020.

“Revisiting The Solitary Life,” Irish Theological Quarterly, Vol. 85, No. 1 (2020): 35-44.

“Eclipsed in Exile: In Defense of Athanasius and the Ethiopians.”  In The Garb of Being: Embodiment and the Pursuit of Holiness in Late Ancient Christianity, edited by Georgia Frank, Andrew S. Jacobs, and Susan Holman (Fordham University Press, 2019), 263-275.

“Maternal Omnipresence: Obedient Daughters in Frankenstein,” Lamar Journal of the Humanities, Vol. XVIV, No. 1 (2019): 29-44.

"Christine dePizan." In Women in World Religions: Faith and Culture across History, Volume 1, edited by Susan de-Gaia, 188-189. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2018.

“Arousing the Eyes: Charles Darwin,” Interdisciplinary Humanities 34.3 (Fall 2017): 32-37.

“Converting Alienation: The Case of Dorothy Day,” Lincoln Humanities Journal 5 (Fall 2017): 25-34.

“A Question of Humility: Reading Luther’s Prefatory Letter to Pope Leo X,” Cithara 56.2 (2017): 3-12.

Seeking in Solitude: Contemporary Christian Eremitic Practice. Eugene, ORWipf and Stock Publishers, 2014.

Teaching Undergraduate Research in Religious Studies, co-edited with Rebecca Todd Peters. Oxford University Press, 2011.

Useful Servanthood: A Study of Spiritual Formation in the Writings of Abba Ammonas, with the Greek corpus in English translation by Nada Conic, Lawrence Morey, and Richard Upsher Smith, Jr. Cistercian Publications, 2010. 

Resurrecting the Brother of Jesus: The James Ossuary Controversy and the Quest for Religious Relics, co-edited with Ryan Byrne. University of North Carolina Press, 2009. 


Ph.D., University of Toronto
M.A., Catholic University of America
B.A., University of Rochester