• Ph.D., M. Phil, M. Div. Yale University
  • M.S. Columbia University
  • B.S. Seattle Pacific University

Areas of Expertise

  • Bible, esp. New Testament
  • Ancient Christian life and literature
  • Religion and politics


By training, I am an historian of early Christian life and literature. The life of early Christian groups fascinates me: the conditions that fostered them, the people and personalities that founded them, the literature they generated, how they adapted and grew, or in some cases, sputtered and failed. The city of Rome lies at the center of my research: it thrills me to walk its streets, to contemplate its remains and learn more of its history. The focal point of that research concerns the wide variety of teachers and groups that existed in Rome during the second century prior to the formation of Orthodoxy, with a particular focus on their material remains and demographic aspects. Articles on these topics have appeared in The Harvard Theological Review, The Journal of Early Christian Studies, Vigiliae Christianae and most recently, in an volume of essays entitled, Christian Teachers in Second-Century Rome (Brill, 2020).


I teach courses on early Christian literature both inside and outside the canon, on the history of the Bible, and on the role the Bible has played in American cultural and ethical debates. In recent years, courses such as The Bible in America, The Bible and Modern Moral Issues, and Religion and Politics have assumed a significant place in my repertoire of classes. In these classes, we examine the way the Bible has been used to justify dominant cultural discourses about enslavement, race, gender, and sexual ethics, and the ways in which the Bible has been used to critique and undermine those dominant discourses.

Recent courses include:

  • Introduction to the New Testament
  • Jesus and His Interpreters
  • Letters and Thoughts of Paul
  • Revelation and the Apocalyptic Imagination
  • The Other Gospels
  • The Gospel of Thomas
  • The Bible in America
  • The Bible and Modern Moral Issues
  • Religion and Politics
  • From Scroll to Screen: A Material History of Scripture
  • Nonviolence: can it work?