About Mary Joan Winn Leith

Mary Joan Winn Leith

Mary Joan Winn Leith is Professor of Religious Studies and Theology at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. As a graduate student at Harvard University she participated in archaeological excavations in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, and Jordan. She teaches courses on the Bible as well as the religion, history and culture of the Ancient Near East and Greece. In addition, she offers a popular course on the Virgin Mary and recently published The Virgin Mary: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2021). Her research interests center on the Persian Period, Early Christian art, and the Virgin Mary.


Presenter at

Spring Bible & Archaeology Fest 2022, April 2 – 3, 2022
Not Just in Judah: Yahwism in the Persian Period

The Bible, which approached its final form in the post-Exilic (Persian) period, has a strong pro-Judean bias. This is not surprising, given that so much of the Bible was shaped by Judean hands. Archaeology and new approaches to the biblical text allow us to resist this bias so that new light is shed on the nature of Yahweh worship in Judah and beyond during the Persian period.

Bible & Archaeology Fest XX, November 17 – 19, 2017
Found: The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel

The proverbial lost tribes have been “found” variously in the British Isles, the American southwest and China, not to mention in the cuneiform records of Assyria which, according to 2 Kings 17, recount that the Israelites were deported from their homeland and replaced with peoples from “Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim.” Recent archaeological discoveries provide a surprising new perspective on the whereabouts of the supposedly lost tribes.

Bible & Archaeology Fest XVIII, November 20 – 22, 2015
Angels: The Bible and Beyond

There is no Devil in the Hebrew Bible, but there are plenty of angels. What does the Bible tell us about these angels? Are New Testament angels the same? How do the archaeological and artistic records assist us in understanding angels? As in the Bible, ideas about angels are rooted in a surprising array of ancient cultures encompassing a vast span of time. The evidence? New Kingdom Egyptian thrones, neo-Assyrian palace reliefs, Iron Age Phoenician ivories, seals from the kingdom of Judah, and Imperial Roman triumphal arches, Jewish-Christian magical amulets and more.

Ridgecrest Retreat, July 27 – August 2, 2014