Christopher Mercurio, Class of 2011

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Christopher Mercurio

Thesis Title: "New Interpretations of Genesis 4: Caine and Abel."

Advisors: Steve Wiggins, Gary Rendsburg, Emma Wasserman
 

 

Ever since I was little I've been interested in religion. As a student of history, I've tried to see and understand the importance of religion in the lives
of the people who have shaped their world and our own, and what role religion has played in our cultural development at large. My experience in
the Rutgers religion department has greatly enhanced my knowledge and understanding of the world's religions, specifically those of Western traditions.

I am especially interested in Late Antique Roman civilization, and as a result of that interest my double major is in classics. The Late Antique
period is very appealing to me, because it is perhaps the ancient historical period with the greatest religious interaction, specifically between Jews,
Christians, and Pagans. The sheer variety of classes in the Rutgers religion department has helped me enhance my knowledge of this period and many others.

My senior thesis also involves the sharing of religious cultures by Semitic and Indo-European civilizations. Although my thesis deals with material from far before the Late Antique period, it examines religious interchange between Hebrew religion and Hellenic religion during the Bronze Age and the centuries following. The story I chose to work on was the Cain and Abel story from Genesis 4, and writing the thesis has been an amazing experience.

My advisors, Professors Wiggins and Wasserman (Religion), and Professor Rendsburg (Jewish Studies) were incredible in all their support and dedication to the project. I plan on using all the tools  I've been given by the religion department at Rutgers to go onto graduate school and hopefully one day teach in higher education.