Since 1995, I have had the privilege of teaching New Testament, Greek, and Second Temple studies at Ashland Theological Seminary, a multi-denominational, progressive evangelical seminary that exists under the auspices of the Brethren Church, a denomination with a rich Anabaptist and Pietist heritage. I myself am ordained an elder in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Prior to teaching, I studied English (with a generous smattering of Classical Studies) at Princeton University, pursued an M.Div. with a concentration in New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, and completed doctoral work in New Testament Studies at Emory University. My doctoral adviser was Luke Timothy Johnson, and I have to say that he was the best adviser I could have had in every way. I have not a single, trifling complaint about my experience -- something that colleagues throughout the guild have taught me over the years is a rare thing indeed.
My research has been focused largely on the study of three texts: Hebrews, Revelation, & 4 Maccabees. I have, however, understood myself as a scholar in service to the church, which includes service to other institutions of higher education, and so I have published a fair number of more general textbooks (on the New Testament, on the Apocrypha, on the social world of the early Christians) and books for use beyond the academy by the faithful.
Alongside my work as a biblical scholar, I serve as Director of Music and organist at Christ United Methodist Church in Ashland, Ohio. We have a children's choir, two bell choirs (children and youth/adult), a youth choir, and an adult choir, and I continue to be amazed at the quality of music we are able to do together. Recent landmarks have included the Bach cantata "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme," Rutter's Requiem, part II of Handel's "Messiah," and Faure's Requiem, all with the required instrumentation. This work is truly a joy for me, and a suitable way to remain anchored in the life of a local congregation.
I have been married to Donna Jean Heitman deSilva since 1990, and we share three fine sons -- James Adrian, John Austin, and Justin Alexander. You'll find their names in the dedications of some of my books. They have taught me that there can actually be three polar opposites, and not merely two.
Oh yes -- if you haven't already, read the Old Testament Apocrypha! Regardless of your denomination's position on the canonicity of these books, they are the most important texts you can read for understanding the world of later Second Temple Judaism and, thus, the religious, ethical, and cultural environment that nurtured the early Christian movement.