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William K. GildersAssociate Professor

William K. Gilders received his B.A. from the University of Toronto, his M.A. from McMaster University, and his Ph.D. in Religious Studies (Judaism in Antiquity) from Brown University.

His research and teaching deal with cultural history, especially its religious dimensions, ranging geographically and chronologically from the ancient Mediterranean world to 21st century North America, with special attention to collective memory and the deployment of images and constructions of the past. He is the author of Blood Ritual in the Hebrew Bible: Meaning and Power (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004) and several articles on ancient Israelite religious practice interpreted from the perspective of anthropology and ritual theory, including "Why Does Eleazar Sprinkle the Red Cow Blood? Making Sense of a Biblical Ritual" in the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures.

In addition to his work on ritual and sacrifice, he has a strong interest in gender and sexuality, particularly cultural agency and creativity in North American LGBTQ communities. He is currently working on a project that examines how the assassinated gay activist Harvey Milk (May 22, 1930 - November 27, 1978) is honored and memorialized and his legacy is claimed and contested.


  • PhD, Brown University, 2001
  • MA, McMaster University, 1993
  • BA, University of Toronto, 1990

Research and Teaching

  • Religion and culture
  • Ancient Mediterranean societies
  • Bible
  • LGBTQ+ cultures, religion, and spirituality
  • Ritual theory