Dr. Maria Dell'Isola

Maria Dell’Isola is Junior Assistant Professor (RTD-A) in History of Early Christianity at the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Milan.
She studied Classics at the University of Bologna. In 2016 she earned her Ph.D. in Cultural Sciences from Scuola di Alti Studi della Fondazione San Carlo di Modena and Max-Weber-Kolleg. Between 2013 and 2014 she spent six months at the Humboldt University of Berlin as a doctoral student. After working as a Postdoctoral Fellow at “Associazione Amici della Peterson” (University of Turin), in 2019 she was awarded a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship at the University of Southern Denmark/Centre for Medieval Literature, with a research project on gendered temporality and female holiness between early Christianity and Byzantium. Between 2021 and 2022 she was Postdoctoral researcher on the subproject A01 Divine Property. Solutions from Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, within the framework of the Collaborative Research Centre TRR 294 Structural Change of Property. Her research interests lie within religion in antiquity, history of Christianity and hagiography.

A picture of Dr. Maria Dell'Isola.

Research Project

Within the framework of the subproject A01 Divine Property. Solutions from Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, my research project attempts to investigate the notion of divine property in late antiquity. By looking at property as a key factor in shaping human and divine agency in Christian hagiographical texts and doctrinal treatises, I aim to identify a set of key features that may define the relationship between human and divine property against the wider background of ancient sacral, social, and economic practices. The research will focus on a detailed analysis of terms referring to the semantic field of property/exchange/donation/theft, in order to outline a broader framework of the complex spectrum of forms and practices describing the dynamics of mutual transfer of property in a sacred context.


  • «The Nun Who Feigned Madness»: Time, Space and Holiness in Palladius, Lausiac History 34, in From Jerusalem to Alexandria... and Beyond. Essays in Honour of Lorenzo Perrone, ed. by A. Cacciari, E.B. Fiori, D. Tripaldi, and A. Villani, with the Collaboration of L.L. Ascone, T. Interi, V. Marchetto, and I. Scarponi (Orientalia Lovanensia Analecta), Peeters, Leuven 2024 (accepted)
  • Martha and Mary. Gender, work and idleness in Early Christianity (Marta e Maria. Prospettive di genere su lavoro e ozio nella tradizione del primo cristianesimo), in Idee di lavoro e di ozio per la nostra civiltà, a cura di G. Mari, F. Ammannati, S. Brogi, T. Faitini, A. Fermani, F. Seghezzi, A. Tonarelli, Firenze University Press, Firenze 2023 (proofs)
  • Fasting, visions and prophecy in and outside the Bible: the figure of Daniel in Tertullian’s De ieiunio adversus psychicos, in Biblical Figures outside the Bible, edited by D. Hamidovic – P. Therrien – E. Serra, Brepols, Thurnout 2023, 171-186 (in press)
  • How Temporality Shapes Social Structure in the Acts of Thomas, in Vigiliae Christianae 77 (2023), 155-175.
  • Il viaggio oltremondano negli Atti di Tommaso. Intrecci socio-temporali di una visione apocalittica, in Dignus es accipere librum. Miscellanea in onore di Edmondo Lupieri per il suo LXXII compleanno, a cura di L. Arcari e L. Carnevale, Edipuglia, Bari 2022, 171-179.