Jan N. Bremmer studied Classics and Spanish at the Free University, Amsterdam (1962-19790) and, after he met his British wife Christine in Finland, at the University of Bristol (1969-1970). From 1970-1972 he did his military service in the Dutch Military Intelligence. In 1990 he was appointed to the Chair of Religious Studies at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen, where he worked until his retirement at the end of 2009. He has been a Member of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton (2000), Inaugural Getty Villa Professor at the Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles: 2006-2007), Visiting Leventis Professor in Edinburgh (2007), Fellow of the Internationales Kolleg Morphomata in Cologne (2010-2011), Inaugural Guest Professor in the ‘Kulturgeschichte des Altertums’ at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich (2011-2012) as well as having fellowships in New York, Erfurt (twice), Freiburg and Bochum from 2012 to 2017. In the spring of 2006 the Queen appointed him Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau.
Bremmer specialises in Greek, Roman, early Christian and contemporary religion, and the historiography of ancient religion. More recently, he published The Rise of Christianity through the Eyes of Gibbon, Harnack and Rodney Stark (2010); Initiation into the Mysteries of the Ancient World (2014) and Maidens, Magic and Martyrs in Early Christianity: Collected Essays I (2017). He co-edited Perpetua’s Passions (2012); The Materiality of Magic (2015); The Ascension of Isaiah (2016); Thecla: Paul’s Disciple and Saint in the East and West (2016) and Figures of Ezra (2018).
During his stay in Erfurt he will work towards the publication of a new encyclopaedia of ancient religion, which will incorporate the Erfurt insights into individualisation as well as their approach to lived ancient religion, putting the ancient religious acts, ideas and traditions into their social contexts.