Christopher Ocker, PhD

Professor of Church History

Montgomery Hall, Room 210

PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary
MDiv, Fuller Theological Seminary

Christopher Ocker is Professor of Church History at the San Francisco Theological Seminary and chair of the Department of the Cultural and Historical Studies of Religion at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley. His monographs include Biblical Poetics before Humanism and Reformation (Cambridge), Church Robbers and Reformers in Germany (Brill), and Johannes Klenkok: A Friar’s Life, c. 1310-1374 (American Philosophical Society). His many articles treat the history of biblical interpretation, the history of Jewish-Christian conflict, Reformation theology, and religious conflict in the Middle Ages. He was the coordinating editor of the two-volume Festschrift for Thomas A. Brady, Jr., Histories and Reformations (Brill), associate editor of the New Westminster Dictionary of Church History (Westminster John Knox), an editor of The Journal of the Bible and Its Reception, and a member of the editorial boards of the series Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions (Brill) and The Journal of the American Academy of Religion. He has also been a fellow of the Institut für Europäische Geschichte in Mainz, an Alexander von Humboldt fellow of the Max-Planck-Institut für Geschichte and of the Kulturwissenschaftliches Kolleg in Konstanz, and a visiting scholar at the American Academy in Rome and in the faculty of history at Cambridge University. He serves on the editorial boards of Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions (Brill) and the Journal of the Bible and Its Reception.

Classes Taught

Christianity from Jewish Sect to Colonial Religion (SFTS)
Christianity from Colonial Churches to Global Religion (SFTS)
The Muilenburg-Koenig History of Religion Seminar (SFTS)
Religionless Christianity (SFTS)
Reformations (GTU)
Jews, Christians, Muslims (GTU)

Teaching Philosophy

My goal is to immerse students in the real-world contexts of Christianity from antiquity to the present. I want to help them build the capacity to analyze and understand critically an entire “ecology” of religious life in the world: the entanglement, over time, of theologies and worshipful performances, material objects, physical environments, and human societies. I help students use historical evidence to design, communicate, implement, and evaluate original solutions to questions and problems confronting them and the communities they serve. I believe these skills are the foundation of effective and innovative ministry.

In his own words

In my spare time, when I can find it, I enjoy book-binding, sailing, back-country skiing, and medieval plain chant.