B.A., Mars Hill College
M.T.S., Vanderbilt Divinity School
Ph.D., Iliff School of Theology and the University of Denver
Eric C. Smith teaches in the fields of early Christianity and biblical studies. His research focuses on material aspects of Christianity before Constantine, especially the art, architecture, and communal life of Pauline and Roman churches, and on the interpretation of biblical texts using theories of space, difference, and power.
Smith is the author of three books. Jewish Glass and Christian Stone: A Materialist Mapping of the Parting of the Ways (Routledge 2018) examines material objects as markers of identities in Judeo-Christianity and attempts to tell the story of the “parting of the ways” through the material lives of Jews and Christians. Paul the Progressive? The Compassionate Christian’s Guide to Reclaiming the Apostle as an Ally (Chalice 2019) is a popular-facing book that attempts to reclaim the apostle Paul for progressive Christian communities. An earlier book, Foucault’s Heterotopia in Christian Catacombs: Constructing Symbols and Spaces in Ancient Rome (Palgrave Macmillan 2014), undertakes a spatial analysis of early Christian catacombs. Smith is co-chair of the Early Jewish Christian Relations program unit of the Society of Biblical Literature, and past co-chair of the Space, Place, and Lived Experience in Antiquity program unit. He is the editor of the Palgrave Macmillan series Religion and Spatial Studies, co-editor of the Christianity section of Religion Compass, is the author of several articles and book chapters, and has contributed entries for the Visual Commentary on Scripture. His current research project is a monograph-length reading of the book of Acts through postcolonial and decolonial perspectives on sovereignty.
Smith is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with ministry experience in the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ. He has led travel seminars to early Christian sites in Italy and Turkey, and is a frequent presenter in educational settings at Denver-area churches.