Kimberley Christine Patton, PhD

Professor of the Comparative and Historical Study of Religion, Harvard Divinity School
Kimberley C. Patton received her AB from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges in the study of religion, and her AM and PhD from Harvard University in the study of religion and archaeology. She specializes in ancient Greek religion and archaeology, with research interests in archaic sanctuaries and in the iconography of sacrifice. She also teaches in the history of world religions, ritual studies, animal studies, religion and ecology, religious art and iconoclasm, the interpretation of dreams, animals in religion and myth, ritual weeping, material holiness, angels and angelology, and the mythology of twinship. Her book Religion of the Gods: Ritual, Paradox, and Reflexivity (Oxford, 2009), won the 2010 American Academy of Religion Book Award for Excellence in Religious Studies in the Analytical-Descriptive category. She is also the author of The Sea Can Wash Away All Evils: Modern Marine Pollution and the Ancient Cathartic Ocean (Columbia, 2006). She is co-editor of and contributing author to three other books: with Benjamin Ray, A Magic Still Dwells: Comparative Religion in the Postmodern Age (University of California Press, 2000); with John Stratton Hawley, Holy Tears: Weeping in the Religious Imagination (Princeton, 2005); and with Paul Waldau, A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science, and Ethics (Columbia, 2006). Her research on the ritual dimensions of maternal mortality in a Neolithic burial at the site of Çatalhöyük in Central Anatolia, Turkey, was published as a chapter co-authored with forensic archaeologist Lori Hager in Religion in the Organization and Transformation of a Neolithic Society: Vital Matters, ed. Ian Hodder (Cambridge University Press, 2014). She is honored to be able to teach regularly in the Harvard Extension School with her own doctoral advisor, David Gordon Mitten, Loeb Professor of the Classics Emeritus.


  • PhD Harvard University