Sarah Gador-Whyte

Dr Sarah Gador-Whyte

Research Fellow
Biblical and Early Christian Studies

Areas of expertise: Early Christianity; late-antique and Byzantine hymnography and homiletics; Byzantine liturgy; late-antique cultural interactions; late-antique history and historiography; religious conflict; history of emotions

HDR Supervisor accreditation status: Provisional

ORCID ID: 0000-0003-2935-653X

Phone: +61 3 99533307


Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

After studying classics and applied mathematics at the University of Melbourne, I completed a PhD on a late-antique hymnographer, Romanos the Melodist. This project, which studied the rhetoric and thought of a significant Byzantine liturgical writer, combined rhetorical and theological analysis with a historical understanding and awareness of the performative nature of his compositions. My book, Theology and Poetry in Early Byzantium, which arose out of my PhD dissertation, is published by Cambridge University Press.

I am interested in cultural interactions in late antiquity. My work on Romanos placed him in the complex context of late antique liturgical writings, focusing on religious clashes, theological disputes and inheritance and literary influences, and explored the use of dialogue as an investigative, exploratory and exegetical tool. I have also worked on dialogue texts in times of religious conflict: the forced baptism of Jews under the emperor Heraclius. I am working on developing this project into a wider study of interreligious dialogue after the beginning of Islam.

With my colleague, Benjamin Edsall, I lead Strand 3 of the BECS Flourishing in Early Christianity ACURF project, which explores Flourishing Communities: Ecologies and Places.

I am also collaborating on an international project on the night in late antiquity entitled The Wakeful Night: Nocturnal Imaginations, Encounters and Emotions in the Late Ancient Mediterranean.  My contribution focuses on exploring women's experiences of the religious night. 

I am an associate member of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies program in IRCI and ACU's General and Women's History Research Centre.

Academia profile

Select publications


  • Theology and Poetry in Early Byzantium: the Kontakia of Romanos the Melodist. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Edited books

  • Hymns, Homilies and Hermeneutics in Byzantium, co-edited with Andrew Mellas. Byzantina Australiensia (Leiden: Brill), 2021.

Journal articles

  • ‘Performing Repentance in the Kontakia of Romanos the Melodist,’ Journal of Early Christian Studies, 28.1 (2020), 89-113.

Book chapters

  • ‘Knowing in Song: Christian Formation in Romanos the Melodist’ in Sarah Gador-Whyte and Andrew Mellas (eds), Hymns, Homilies and Hermeneutics: Experiencing Liturgical Texts in Byzantium, Byzantina Australiensia (Leiden: Brill), 2021.
  • ‘Changing Conceptions of Mary in Sixth-Century Byzantium: The Kontakia of Romanos the Melodist’. In Questions of Gender in Byzantine Society, edited by Bronwen Neil and Lynda Garland, 77-92. Farnham: Ashgate, 2013.
  • ‘Christian-Jewish conflict in the light of Heraclius’ forced conversions and the beginning of Islam’. In Religious Conflict from Early Christianity to Early Islam, edited by Wendy Mayer and Bronwen Neil, 201-214. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013.


Appointments and affiliations


  • Secretary for the Australasian Association for Byzantine Studies
  • Mentor for Australasian Women in Ancient World Studies

Professional affiliations

  • Australasian Association for Byzantine Studies
  • Australasian Society for Classical Studies
  • Australasian Women in Ancient World Studies
  • Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies UK
  • Pacific Partnership in Late Antiquity

ACU Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

Mailing address

C/- 115 Victoria Pde
Fitzroy, VIC, 3065.