Professor Kimberly Majeski visits Rome for sabbatical

Kimberly Majeski poses for a photo in Rome.

In September 2017, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies Kimberly Majeski MDiv '03 DMin '09 visited Rome as part of her sabbatical to research the biblical character Prisca.

The focus of Majeski’s research began with early women in the church. Majeski decided to focus her research on Prisca specifically “because she is named six times in the New Testament, four of those times her name proceeds her husband Aquilla's. She was a central player in the turbulent days of the early church and Paul refers to she and Aquilla as people who ‘risked their necks for the sake of the Gospel’ in Romans 16:4,” said Majeski.  

Prior to visiting Rome, Majeski planned out which sites she would visit. The sites that were of most interest to her were the ones “that were built upon early church holy sites or connected to the stories of Prisca in one way or the other” said Majeski.

Some of the places she visited were the Church of St. Prisca and the Church of St. Pudenziana. She also spent time in the Priscilla's Catacombs: “a sprawling ancient burial site for early Christians where second and third century reliefs depict Hebrew narratives. It features the Greek Temple where images of women and the Fractio Panis [an ancient painting translated in English as “Breaking of Bread”] grace the walls,” said Majeski.

Ruins in Rome, visited by Kimberly MajeskiOne of Majeski’s favorite stories from her trip was an interaction a local tour guide. Before her trip, she had prepared herself to not correct any tour guides when they were speaking about the Fractio Panis. She was confident that this specific tour guide would take a more Catholic and traditional view of the painting and would consider the characters in it as male. Instead, the tour guide said that it was plain to see that the characters are women. “I wept and then gave him a high five,” said Majeski. This moment was one of the highlights of her trip.

Majeski also visited the catacombs of St. Agnes and a church dedicated to her. She was also able to visit Pompeii and view the preserved ruins. Other places she visited included the Church of St. Mary Maggiore, the Vatican, the Forum Romana, the Colosseum, and the Circus Maximus. Majeski is already excited to return to these historical sites in the future.

While Majeski was in Rome, she was profoundly impacted in a spiritual way. “There is something mysterious about stepping back into an ancient story, about tracing steps and finding small possibilities,” said Majeski. During this trip, she felt more connected to the early church holy women, Prisca, and Christ.

Majeski is currently working on a manuscript called “Chasing Prisca: Songs from the Stones.” Her plan is to present her research on campus in spring 2018. She looks forward to sharing her passion for Prisca and the other women she has learned about on her trip.

Tessa Williams is a senior from Indianapolis, Ind., majoring in public relations and minoring in nonprofit leadership. Williams is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of Anderson University Office of Communication and Marketing.  

Anderson University is a private, liberal arts institution in Anderson, Indiana with a mission to educate students for lives of faith and service in the church and society. Anderson University is recognized among top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, Colleges of Distinction, and The Princeton Review. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, the university now offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music education, and theology.

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