As a scholar of New Testament and early Christianity, my approach to research combines close textual analysis, historical consciousness, methodological dexterity, and interdisciplinary engagement. Doctoral training at Emory University has provided a broad understanding of the social, cultural, and religious character of the Ancient Mediterranean World and the place of early Christianity within it. In addition, a three-year Lilly Graduate Fellowship allowed me to work with a diverse cohort of other Ph.D. students and two faculty mentors. Together we explored the nature and value of humanistic inquiry. A welcome supplement to my coursework at Emory, readings and discussion for the Fellowship included topics from literature, philosophy, ethics, and aesthetics. Broadly speaking, my research interests shed new light on areas of scholarly consensus and disagreement by asking new questions of old texts and by bringing interdisciplinary perspectives to inform them.
My previous publications demonstrate in part my approach to research. My first article was published in Novum Testamentum, the leading international journal devoted to the study of the New Testament. In it, I re-assess the meaning of an important word (ἡ πάρεσις, “incapacitation”) in a central section of Paul’s letter to the Romans. The article not only challenges a long-standing scholarly consensus about the word’s range of meaning; it also has significant implications for how to best understand key themes and ideas of the epistle as a whole. In my chapter in the edited volume, Jesus and Mary Reimagined in Early Christianity, I capitalize on close textual analysis of two early Christian compositions (the Gospel of Luke and the Protevangelium of James) and explore the relationship between them. I argue that the depiction of Mary in the Protevangelium of James not only emphasizes her virginity, but also her distinctive role as mother.
My most recent article, "(Religious) Language and the Decentering Process: McNamara and De Sublimate on the Ecstatic Effect of Language," (forthcoming, Journal of Cognitive Historiography) outlines areas of overlap between ancient notions of religious experience and the treatise's understanding of the effects of great literature. In important ways, this article anticipates my first monograph, emerging from research related to my dissertation, on the relationship between texts and religious experience.