My research and interests are with texts of the early Christian period, those of the New Testament but also those that date to and around the first and second century CE. I am particularly interested in early Jewish-Christian relations, Christian emergence, the History of Interpretation, and rhetorical criticism. While Paul has been the focus of much of my writings, my 2010 monograph Circumcision as a Malleable Symbol deals with a range of writers from the 2nd century BCE to the first century CE and explores treatments of circumcision in the books of the Maccabees, Jubilees, Josephus, Philo, and Paul. My current work involves a book-length project on Paul in which I take up the much-discussed topic of his relationship with Judaism.
Recent Publications include:
“The Whys and Wherefores of the New Christianity Seminar” The Fourth R 26.1 (January–February 2013): 17.
“Circumcision as a Means of Testing the Historicity of Acts 16:1–5,” Forum Third Series 2.2 (2013): 217–30.
“The So-called Noahide Laws” in Acts and Christian Beginnings: The Acts Seminar Report edited by Dennis E. Smith and Joseph B. Tyson. Salem:Polebridge, 2013.
“Sounding Out the Heirs of Abraham (Rom 4:9–12),” Oral Tradition 27/1 (2012): 273–90.
“Justin:Refining the Meaning of Christ and Christian,” The Fourth R 23.2 (March–April 2010):13–18.
“Theological Identity Making: Justin’s Use of Circumcision to Create Jews and Christians,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 18.1 (2010): 51–79.
“Paul the Philonic Jew (Philippians 3:5–21),” Annali di Storia dell’Esegesi 27.2 (2010): 35–44.
In my courses, I aim to challenge theological preconceptions by encouraging students to look closely and carefully at biblical texts. My courses range from a broad survey of biblical texts from a literary perspective, depictions of women in the early textual traditions of the three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), a course on depictions of Jesus through time through the medium of film, a topic-centered course devoted to the study of Paul, a cross-cultural and cross-religious survey of leaders devoted to social justice, and a course on world religions and ecology. I often teach online and through that method feel as though I am folding an educational experience into the world in which many of us spend our time.
My courses include:
World Religions and Ecology
Through an agreement with Jodi Magness at UNC, Chapel Hill, I helped launch a mulit-year summer study abroad opportunity for Religious Studies at The University of Oklahoma. Beginning in summer 2012, OU students had the opportunity to participate in a one-month archaeological dig of an ancient synagogue in Huqoq, Galilee. The above image is the mosaic found on the synagogue floor at Huqoq during the 2012 excavation.
Along with Clayton Jefford, I serve as co-editor of Westar Institute’s journal Forum. Forum is a biannual journal begun by Robert Funk in 1985 to disseminate seminar papers devoted to the study of the historical Jesus, Christian Origins and related fields. Part of Robert Funk’s goal was to explore the fate of the Bible in American culture.