Eric M. Trinka

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Religion & Philosophy

I am a scholar of Bible and Religion. My research investigates modes of human movement and textual composition to inspire readings of ancient and modern religious texts that are conversant with germane social science theories and data from migration studies, critical spatial studies, and terrorism studies.

I have extensive experience teaching diverse student populations the academic study of religion and the Bible in public and private liberal arts contexts. I believe that academic religious study cultivates a foundational cultural literacy among students and promotes lasting outcomes of self-awareness and civility.

My previous career as a public school educator has honed the instructional strategies I employ in college classrooms, particularly in working to improve outcomes for first-generation students. My pedagogy showcases research-based best practices for culturally responsive instruction that draw on students’ diverse identities as assets for teaching and learning. All my courses foreground inter-disciplinary approaches in which students learn how to do academic religious and biblical study at the intersections of literary studies, linguistics, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and cognitive science.

Students in my classes will participate textual analysis, peer-to-peer interaction, whole-group discussion, and problem-solving activities regarding the place of the Bible and religion in the public sphere. Independent research projects are also a cornerstone of many of my courses with class meetings serving as a laboratory for testing student’s hypotheses and deepening their learning and interdisciplinary connections.

Since 2007, I have garnered substantial experience as a learning tour leader in Israel/Palestine and the broader Mediterranean where I have guided participants in the study of biblical texts and the cultural worlds of the ancient Mediterranean through immersive learning experiences and archaeological site visits. I have also worked as an Educational Consultant for the Abraham Path Initiative, a nonprofit based in Harvard Law School’s Program of Negotiation that promotes economic stability, cultural preservation, and education in the Middle East. I also volunteer for Save Ancient Studies in America, a non-profit digital humanities project working to inspire a new generation of students to study the ancient world.


Ph.D. Biblical Studies - The Catholic University of America (Awarded with distinction)

M.Phil. Theology and Religious Studies - The Catholic University of America

M.A. Religion - Eastern Mennonite University

B.S. Secondary History and Social Science Education - Eastern Mennonite University



Cultures of Mobility, Migration, and Religion in Ancient Israel and Its World. (London: Routledge, 2022).


Remembering Egypt: Migration, Memory, and Identity in Genesis 37-50 (under contract, Routledge).


Co-authored Volumes

Jonah: La Bible en ses Traditions. With Isaac M. Alderman, Jordan Schmidt, and Eric Wagner. Directed by Fr. Olivier-Thomas Venard, O.P., (Leuven: Peeters, 2023).


Edited Volumes

Mobility in the Mediterranean and West Asian Area of Connectivity in the 10th–4th c. BCE., with Melanie Wasmuth. [under contract, Transnational Press London].

Religion, Religious Groups, and Migration, with Deniz Coşan Eke. [under contract, Transnational Press London].


Rethinking Resilience and Religious Coping among Migrants, with Maria Kanal. [under contract, Transnational Press London].


Refereed Journal Articles

“Reading Migration in/and the Bible: A Review of the Field and Suggestions for Future Research,” Currents in Biblical Research (Forthcoming).

“Interdisciplinarity as Departure and Return: Methodological Boundary Crossing in the Ancient Near East,” with Isaac M. Alderman and Shane M. Thompson, Avar 1.1 (2022): 1-6.

“Religion on the Move: Mobility, Migration, and Internal Religious Pluralism in Biblical and Early Israel.” Revista do Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia 33 (2019): 66-90.

“Migration and Internal Religious Pluralism: A Review of Present Findings.” Journal of Interreligious Studies 28 (2019): 3-23.

“The End of Islands: Drawing Insight from John’s Apocalypse to Respond to Prisoner Radicalization and Apocalyptically-Oriented Terrorism.” Religions 10.2 (2019): 1-14. DOI:10.3390/rel10020073

“‘If you will only remain in this land’: Migration Decision-Making and Jeremiah

as a Religiously Motivated Nonmover.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 80 (2018): 580-96.


Book Chapters

“Migration in the Ancient Near East,” The Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Studies of the Ancient Near East. Eds. Jason Silverman and Emmanuel Pfoh (in progress).


“Reflections from the Margins,” in At the Margins: Intersections of Power and Identity in the Ancient Near East. Eds. Sara Mohr and Shane M. Thompson (Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2023).

“A New Mobilities Approach to Naming and Mapping Deities: Presence, Absence, and Distance.” in Naming and Mapping the Gods. Ed. Elodie Gullion. (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2022).

“Mirrored Selves: Reflections on Religious Narrative(s) in the Lives of Migrants,” in Cultures of Migration: A Handbook. Eds. Jeffery H. Cohen and Ibrahim Sirkeci (Brookfield: Edward Elgar, 2021).

“Migrants, Identity, and Body Modification in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Media,” in Communication of Migration in Media and Arts. Eds. Vildan Mahmutoglu and John Moran Gonzales (London: Transnational Press, 2020).

“The Hand of God and Divine Touch in the Book of Job,” in Viewpoints on the Bible. Ed. Mark Roncace (Wingate, NC: Point of View, 2018).

Professional Experience

Co-Chief Editor of Avar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Life and Society in the Ancient Near East

Co-Chief Editor of the book series, Life and Society in the Ancient Near East (LSANE)

American Schools of Overseas Research Session Chair Cultures of Mobility and Borders in the Ancient Near East 

Society of Biblical Literature Steering Committee Member – Exile and Forced Migration & Space, Place, and Religious Experience in Antiquity Sessions

The Migration Conference – Organization Committee Member & Track Director for all religion and migration papers

Contact Info

Wiley Hall 006

P.O. Box 947
Emory, Virginia 24327

(276) 944-6123


Wiley Hall, Emory & Henry College