Assistant Professor Contact Areas of Interest
Joseph Bryant
Department of Sociology
725 Spadina Avenue, Room 346
416-978-3963 (fax)
  • Historical Sociology
  • Sociology of Religion (primary focus on the Early Christianity)
  • Philosophy of Science (primary focus on the logic of explanation)
  • Sociological Theory
  • Comparative World History
  • Sociology of Culture


Joseph M. Bryant is a historical sociologist whose research has focused primarily on classical antiquity: its politics, modes of war-making, economic practices, and its cultural achievements in the arts and philosophical inquiry. He is currently engaged in research on the rise of Christianity, seeking to explicate the social forces that enabled an illegal and marginalized religion to weather the storms of persecution, and eventually become the imperial religion of a declining Roman Empire. In addition to substantive interests in comparative world history, Bryant attends to ongoing debates in sociological theory and method, largely in reference to philosophy of science questions and issues.

After completing his PhD, and having served as a post-doctoral fellow and sessional lecturer here at U of T, Bryant accepted a position in Sociology at the University of New Brunswick. In 1999 he returned to the University of Toronto, and is currently cross-appointed in the Department of Sociology and the Department for the Study of Religion.


  • RLG 210Y Introduction to the Sociology of Religion
  • RLG 446H Politics of Belief in Early Christianity
  • RLG 2084H Social Science Approaches to Early Christianity
  • SOC 6201H Sociological Theory III: Theory and Method in Historical Sociology
  • RLG210Y/SOC250Y Sociology of Religion
  • RLG 1000Y Method and Theory in the Study of Religion



Co-edited with John Hall.Historical Methods in the Social Sciences.SAGE Publications Ltd.

Moral Codes and Social Structure in Ancient Greece: A Sociology Of Greek Ethics From Homer to the Epicureans and StoicsSUNY Press.


“The Sociology of Early Christianity: From History to Theory and Back Again”The New Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion.Ed. Bryan S. TurnerBlackwell Publishing.311-39.

“Persecution and Schismogenesis: How a Penitential Crisis Over Mass Apostasy Facilitated the Triumph of Catholic Christianity in the Roman Empire.”Sacred Schisms: How Religions Divide.Ed. James R. Lewis and Sarah M. Lewis.Cambridge University Press147-68.


“Apocalypse Then, Apocalypse Now?”Rev. ofApocalypse: From Antiquity to the Empire of Modernity”, by John R. HallContemporary Sociology42(4): 525-529.