Helen Rhee

Prof Rhee

Professor of Church History
Phone: (805) 565-6834
Email: rhee@westmont.edu
Office Location: Porter Center 14

Office Hours
Sabbatical 2017-2018

Greco-Roman religions and society, Patristics--early Christian literature and theology

Rev. Dr. Helen Rhee is a Professor of History of Christianity.She earned her B.A. in History at UC Berkeley and her M.Div. and Ph.D. at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. Prior to coming to Westmont in 2004, she has served as pastor of Hana Church (Buena Park, CA) for a number of years and is currently an Associate Pastor of the Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara.

Dr. Rhee specializes in early Christian history and theology, focusing on the diverging Christian self-identities in relation to Greco-Roman culture and society. Her first book, Early Christian Literature: Christ and Culture in the Second and Third Centuries (Routledge, 2005),explores the very issue through the lenses of the apologetic works, apocryphal acts, and the martyr acts. In her second book, Loving the Poor, Saving the Rich: Wealth, Poverty, and Early Christian Formation(Baker Academic, 2012), she examines early Christian attitudes toward and practices involving wealth and poverty and how these contributed to shaping Christian identities within larger Greco-Roman and Jewish contexts. Dr. Rhee’s forthcoming volume, Wealth, Poverty, and Early Christianity (Ad Fontes: Early Christian Sources; Fortress, 2017), is a sourcebook on how Christian faith interacted with money and property and propelled social justice and the care of the poor.Her recent research also includes early Christian understandings of and approaches to bodily pain, illness, and healthcare in conversation with ancient medicine.

Dr. Rhee received the Bruce and Adaline Bare Teacher of the Year Award in Humanities, 2010, and the Faculty Researcher of the Year Award in 2014.

Research Interests:

  • Second and Third Century Christian Literature (including Apocryphal Acts)
  • Early Christian Self-Definition, Asceticism, and Martyrdom
  • Greco-Roman Religions, Philosophy, Society, and Culture
  • Gender, Sexuality, and Women in Early Christianity
  • Wealth and Poverty in Early Christianity
  • Bodily Pain, Illness, and Suffering in Early Christianity

Select Publications (Articles and Chapters):

  • “Portrayal of Patients in Early Christian Sources,” Studia Patristica, LXIII, forthcoming
  • “Irenaeus and Paul: Sexuality, Virginity, and Women,” in Irenaeus and Paul (eds. T. D. Still and D. Wilhite; London & New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark Publishing, forthcoming)
  • “Wealth, Business Activities, and Blurring of Christian Identity,”Studia Patristica, LXII (2013), 245-57.
  • “Every Good and Perfect Gift Comes from Above: The Episcopal Control of Charity and Christian(-ized) Patronage,”Scrinium9 (Patrologia Pacifica Tertia) (2013), 122-38.
  • “The Wealth of Christians” inTertullian and Paul(eds. T. D. Still and D. Wilhite; London & New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark Publishing, 2012), 195-215.
  • “A Patristic View of Wealth and Possessions,”Ex Auditu: An International Journal of Theological Interpretation of Scripture27 (2012), 51-77.
  • "Wealth, Poverty, and Eschatology: Pre-Constantine, Christian Social Thoughts and the Hope for the World to Come," inPatristic Social Ethics: Issues and Challenges(ed. J. Leemans, B. Matz, and J. Verstraeten; Catholic University Press, 2011), 64-84.
  • "Spirituality of Female Martyrs: Virginity and Spiritual Motherhood," inPrayer and Spirituality IV: The Spiritual Life(ed. W. Mayer, P. Allen and L. Cross; Strathfield, Australia: St Paul?s Publications, 2006), 133-48.
  • "Persecution, Martyrdom, and Christian Self-Definition in the Early Church," inThe Suffering Body: Responding to the Persecution of Christians(ed. H. D. Hunter & C. M. Robeck, Jr.; Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster, 2006), 3-23.

Select Courses Teaching/Taught:

  • History of World Christianity
  • Theology and Economics of Wealth andPoverty (with Prof. Edd Noell in Economic/Business)
  • Early and Medieval Christianity
  • Life and Literature of the New Testament
  • Christianity and Roman Empire
  • Reformation and Modern Christianity
  • Gender in Theological Perspective
  • American Church History (Fuller Extension)