Ron Hock

Professor Emeritus of Religion

Research & Practice Areas

parable interpretation, gospel composition, friendship conventions in the Gospel of John, commentaries on the Progymnasmata of Aphthonius of Antioch, Second Sophistic literature

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • Institute of Antiquity and Christianity, Claremont, CA, Director, Chreia in Ancient Literature and Education Project


Born June 15, 1944, in Elmhurst, IL, to Francis A. and Grace M. Hock, I grew up in Lombard, IL, and attended Northern Illinois University (B.A. in psychology in 1966), Southern Methodist University (B.D. in 1969) and Yale University (M.Phil. in 1972; Ph.D. in 1974 in New Testament Studies). In 1975 I joined the faculty of the University of Southern California. I married Carol Erlandson of Lombard, IL, in June 1966 and have two children, Jennifer Lynne (b. 1972) and David Ronald (b. 1974). Jennifer and David grew up in Diamond Bar, CA, attended Ivy League colleges,and are now in their desired professions, university teaching for Jennifer and law for David. My wife taught for thirty years, most of them in Glendora,CA. She is now retired, which allowed us to move to our retirement home in beautiful La Quinta, CA. Travel, reading mysteries, gardening, and jogging fill up my spare time.


  • Ph.D. New Testament, Yale University, 5/1974
  • M.Phil. New Testament, Yale University, 5/1972
  • BD , Southern Methodist University, 6/1969
  • B.A. Psychology, Northern Illlinois University, 6/1966
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Professor of Religion, University of Southern California, 09/01/1995 –
    • Associate Professor of Religion, University of Southern California, 09/01/1981 – 06/01/1995
    • Assistant Professor of Religion, University of Southern California, 09/01/1975 – 06/01/1981

    Research, Teaching, Practice, and Clinical Appointments

    • Lecturer, Yale Divinity School, 1974-1975
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Professor Hock’s research interests are focused on gospel studies and Pauline studies with special emphasis on their relation to social and intellectual conventions in the Early Roman Empire. Current interests include the social conventions that help us to interpret the parables of Jesus, the moral norms that undergird the love commands in the New Testament, and the rhetorical instructions that clarify the composition of the gospels.

    Research Keywords

    gospel studies, Pauline studies, early Roman Imperial literature, ancient education, Progymnasmata

    Detailed Statement of Research Interests

    While my focus is on interpreting the New Testament in its historical context, I range farther afield than most of my colleagues in seeking that context. For most it is Jewish culture and religion, but for me it is the set of conventions of thought and behavior that governed the lives of people in the Greek East of the Early Roman Empire, the very context for most of the writers and readers of the writings in the New Testament. More specifically, for social conventions I turn especially, though not exclusively, to the Greek novels whose narratives supply a lengthy, detailed, and coherent account of the very conventions I’m interested in. In addition, I’m also engaged in research into the curriculum of ancient education, as the textbooks used in this setting shaped the conventions of thought and expression that allow us to see how and why the New Testament documents are written as they are, why the gospel of Mark uses the word “beginning” at the start of his gospel or why Paul’s letter to Philemon is structured temporally. We don’t write that way, but they did, and ancient education taught them to do so. Consequently, current projects using this literature and handbooks are centered on the role of friendship conventions in John’s gospel and the Byzantine commentaries on Aphthonius’ Progymnasmata, one dealing with social conventions, the other with intellectual ones.

  • Conference Presentations

    • Household Mangagement and the Greek Novel , Society of Biblical LiteratureTalk/Oral Presentation, Hellenistic Ethics and Early Christian Literature , San Diego, CA, 2007-2008
    • The Opening of the Gospel of Mark and Insights from the Progymnasmata , Society of Biblical LiteratureTalk/Oral Presentation, Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, Washington, D.C., 2006-2007
  • Book Chapters

    • Hock, R. F. (2008). Jesus, the Beloved Disciple and Greco-Roman Friendship Conventions. 1 (Vol. 1) pp. 24 pages. Leiden: Christian Origins and Classical Culture/ E.J. Brill.
    • Hock, R. F. (2007). “The Problem of Paul’s Social Class: Further Reflections”. first edition (Vol. 4) pp. 14 pages. Leiden: E.J. Brill.
    • Mortar Board Recipient, 2006-2007
  • Office Hours

      Tuesday and Thursday : 9:30-11:30
  • Editorships and Editorial Boards

    • Editorial Board, Ancient Narrative, 2007-2008
    • Major Reviews Editor, Religious Studies Review, 2007-2008
    • Editorial Board, Studies in Antiquity and Christianity, 2007-2008
    • Editorial Board, Synkrisis, 2007-2008

    Professional Offices

    • Steering Committee, Ancient Fiction and Early Christian and Jewish Narrative, Society of Biblical Literature, 2006-2007

    Professional Memberships

    • Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, 2007-2008
    • Society of Biblical Literature, 2007-2008
    • Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, 2007-2008