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DeCock Miriam, Ph.D. Student, Biblical Field

photo of Miriam DeCock

Miriam DeCock

Ph.D. Student, Biblical Field

PhD Students
Department of Religious Studies

Area(s) of Interest:


Miriam is a Ph.D. candidate working in the area of early Christianity. She focuses on early Christian scriptural interpretation, but her research and teaching interests, broadly described include the following: patristic studies; history of the early church; reception history of the Bible; Christian adaptation of Greco-Roman grammar and rhetoric; early Christian identity formation; early Christian doctrinal formulation; canon formation; New Testament studies.

Her dissertation, “The Gospel of John in Greek Patristic Interpretation,” written under the supervision of Dr. Peter Widdicombe, consists of five case studies which examine comparatively the treatment of five passages from John’s Gospel (the “cleansing of the temple” in John 2; the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4; the man born blind in John 9; the good shepherd parable in John 10; the raising of Lazarus in John 11) in the commentaries and homilies of four Greek authors, Origen and Cyril of Alexandria, and John Chrysostom and Theodore of Mopsuestia of the so-called Antiochene school. She examines these authors’ exegetical maneuvers, attending to their grammatical and rhetorical techniques, in addition to the doctrinal themes that arise from their exegesis. The dissertation also makes a contribution to the scholarly discussion about whether and to what extent one can speak of two distinctive exegetical schools.


  • McMaster University, Ph.D. in Religion Studies, 2017 (expected)
  • McMaster University, M.A. in Religion Studies, 2012
  • Briercrest College, B.A. in Biblical Studies, 2009


Teaching Experience:

  • John’s Portrait of Jesus (RS 3N03), Winter 2017

TA Experience: 

  • Psalms and Wisdom In the Bible (RS 3M03), 2016
  • Women in the Biblical Tradition (RS 2B03), 2015
  • What on Earth is Religion? (RS 1B06), 2014–2015
  • Islam in America (RS 2TA3), 2014
  • Prophets (RS 2EE3), 2013
  • Five Books of Moses (RS 2DD3), 2013
  • Approaches to the Study of Religion (RS 3F03), 2012
  • Paul and Christian Origins (RS 2HH3), 2012
  • Psalms and Wisdom in the Bible (RS 3M03), 2011
  • Women in the Biblical Tradition (RS 2B03), 2011
  • Introduction to the Modern Study of the Bible (RS 1D06), 2010
  • Introduction to the Prophets, Briercrest College (BLST 206), 2008–2009


Journal Articles

  • “The Good Shepherd of John 10 in Patristic Biblical Interpretation,” Studia Patristica (forthcoming, 2017).
  • The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ: A Review Article,” Journal of the Jesus Movement in its Jewish Setting 2 (October, 2015), 187–196.

Conference Presentations: 

  • “The Raising of Lazarus in Alexandrian and Antiochene Exegesis” – Canadian Society of Patristic Studies – Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, May 29, 2017.
  • “John’s Cleansing of the Temple Narrative in Greek Patristic Interpretation” – North American Patristics Society – Chicago, May 25, 2017.
  • “Origen’s Identification of the “Person” in his Homilies on the Psalms” at the Origen on the Psalms Colloquium, “Origen’s Homilies on the Psalms: Explorations Five Years On”, Catholic University of America, Washington D.C., May 23, 2017.
  • “The Preeminence of John in Greek Patristic Thought?”– Canadian Society of Patristic Studies, University of Calgary, May 29, 2016.
  • “The Reception History of the Man Born Blind in Greek Patristic Interpretation” – North American Patristics Society – Chicago, May 28th, 2016.
  • “The Reception History of Matthew 23:2–3 in the Patristic Period,” McMaster University Graduate Student Conference: Religion and Law; Hamilton, Ontario, October 17, 2015.
  • “The Good Shepherd of John 10 in Patristic Biblical Interpretation,” XVII International Conference on Patristics Studies, University of Oxford, England, August 12, 2015.
  • “The Figures of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion in Patristic Biblical Theory,” Canadian Society of Patristic Studies, University of Ottawa, June 2, 2015.


I received a 2017-18 Department Travel Grant. The funding awarded to me by the GAC made it possible to attend both the annual North American Patristics meeting in Chicago and the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Patristic Studies, which met at the University of Regina at Congress. I presented papers at both, and in both settings I received helpful feedback. I met junior and senior scholars whom I hadn’t met before, Canadian and international, some of whom I intend to correspond with concerning future research projects.

Academic Service

  • McMaster Religious Studies Department 50th Anniversary Academic Roundtable – The Past, Present, and Future of Religious Studies in Canada – Invited panelist, 2016
  • McMaster Ancient Judaism and Ancient Christianity Seminar – Planner and Facilitator, 2015–2107
  • Graduate Student Representative to Search Committee, Biblical Field Hire, 2015–2016
  • McMaster Graduate Student Conference Planning Committee, 2015
  • Panel Moderator for Medieval Period Session at McMaster Religious Studies Graduate Student Conference, Oct 18, 2015
  • Department Graduate Student Representative – Faculty Meetings, 2015
  • Graduate Students Association of Religious Studies (GSARS) – Vice-President, 2014–2016
  • Graduate Affairs Committee, Graduate Student Representative, 2013–2014
  • GSARS Mentor Coordinator, 2013-2014
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Writing Center Volunteer, 2013
  • GSARS TA Evaluations Officer, 2011–2013
  • Graduate Student Representative – Faculty of Social Sciences Committee, 2011–2012