Welcome

Welcome to my Humanities Commons homepage!

Here you will find information related to my research, publications, teaching, and other professional activities.

This site is a work in progress, so please mind the dust and blank pages as I figure out what to put here!

 

About Me

I am an Associate Professor of Religion at Ferrum College, a small liberal arts college in Virginia’s beautiful Blue Ridge. I earned my Ph.D. in Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity from Marquette University in 2014, and I live in Roanoke with my family.

My research focuses on early Christian literature in general, but with an emphasis on “apocryphal” or “non-canonical” texts (i.e., texts that were important to early Christians but for a variety of reasons were not included in the New Testament). I have a particular interest in a text called the Protevangelium of James (also known as the Protevangelium Iacobi or the Proto-Gospel of James), which is a collection of stories about the birth and childhood of Mary the mother of Jesus. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on this text, and later published it as a book with Bloomsbury T&T Clark.

At Ferrum I teach a range of courses related to religion and biblical studies. Much of my teaching responsibilities are aimed at helping students fulfill their liberal arts core requirements (students at Ferrum are required to take one religion/philosophy class and then one “Bible-based” course). Each semester I offer two sections of Literature of the Bible (REL 111), a survey course that introduces students to the texts of the New Testament and Hebrew Bible. And in the fall semesters I teach a section of World Religions (REL 151).

I also offer a range of upper-level elective courses, including American Gods, Religion in Film, Studies in the GospelLife and Letters of Paul, Jesus and His Afterlives,  Biblical Archaeology, Religion in America, Prophetic Literature, Non-Canonical Literature, Historical Jesus, and, on occasion, Biblical Greek.

At present I am working on two book projects. The first, under contract with Fortress Press, is a reception history of the Matthean Magi. The second, under contract with Lexington Books, is an edited volume (co-edited with Dr. Christy Cobb) on “Sex, Violence, and Early Christian Texts.”

(updated 28 July 2020)

*above photo taken at Pompeii in summer 2019. Photo credit Laura Robinson.

Research

At present, I am at work on two book projects.

The first, under contract with Fortress Press, is a reception history of the Magi. In this book, I trace the development of the Magi from their first appearance in Matthew’s Gospel, through Christian Apocryphal Literature, Patristic theology, iconography, and up until the present day.

The  second, under contract with Lexington Books, is an edited volume on the topic of “Sex, Violence, and Early Christian Texts.” I am co-editing this project with my colleague Dr. Christy Cobb, who teaches at Wingate University.

Publications

Monograph

“But Their Faces Were All Looking Up”: Author and Reader in the Protevangelium of James. The Reception of Jesus in the First Three Centuries 1; London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2016.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

“Confronting Judeophobia in the Classroom” (co-authored with Sarah Rollens and Meredith Warren), Journal for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (accepted for publication, forthcoming in 2020)

“Beyond Historical Criticism? Avery Dulles’s Model for the Theological Interpretation of Scripture,” The Heythrop Journal 58 (2017): 195-206.

“Scripture in the Pastoral Letters of the Provincial Councils of Baltimore,” American Catholic Studies 121 (2010): 55—79.

Chapters/Entries in Edited Volumes

“The Proto-Gospel of James” in the “Early New Testament Apocrypha” volume of Ancient Literature for New Testament Study, edited by Craig Evans, Grant Macaskill, et al. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Academic, 2020). Forthcoming.

“The Reception of Jesus in the Protevangelium Iacobi” in volume 2 of The Reception of Jesus in the First Three Centuries, edited by Chris Keith, Helen K. Bond, and Jens Schröter (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, forthcoming)

“Expanding the Apocryphal Corpus: Some ‘Novel’ Suggestions” in Fakes, Forgeries, and Fictions: Writing Ancient and Modern Christian Apocrypha: Proceedings from the 2015 York University Christian Apocrypha Symposium, edited by Tony Burke (Cascade, 2017)

“Protevangelium of James” in e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha, an online initiative of the North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature (NASSCAL)

Contributor, the Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religions, edited by Eric Orlin, Lisbeth S. Fried, Jennifer Knust, and Michael Satlow (New York: Routledge, 2015) – entries on the Apocalypse of Elijah, Chaldean Oracles, Ladder of Jacob, Lives of the Prophets, Questions and Revelation of Ezra

Contributor, the Lexham Bible Dictionary(electronic: Logos Bible Software, 2014) – entries on Christmas, Wilderness of Shur

Book Reviews

Christopher Frilingos. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph: Family Trouble in the Infancy Gospels. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017. Church History and Religious Culture 99 (2019): 525-527.

Denis Farkasfalvy, O.Cist. Inspiration & Interpretation: A Theological Introduction to Sacred Scripture. Washington, D.C.: CUA Press, 2010. Nova et Vetera 11 (2014): 1310—1314.

Donald A. Hagner. The New Testament: A Historical and Theological Introduction. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012. Catholic Books Review (April 2013)

David J. O’Brien and Thomas A. Shannon, editors. Catholic Social Thought: The Documentary Heritage. Expanded Edition. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2010. Catholic Books Review (May 2011)

Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri. The Gospel of Matthew. Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010. Catholic Books Review (January 2011)

Presentations

Conference Presentations

2018                      “Forgiveness or a Flamethrower? The Judgment and Redemption of Salome in the Protevangelium of Jamesat the Annual Meeting of the SBL, Denver, CO. 19 November

2017                      “Then Suddenly, Everything Resumed Its Course”: The Suspension of Time in the Protevangelium of JamesReconsidered” at the Annual Meeting of the SBL, Boston, MA.

2016                      “Virginity, the Temple Veil, and their Demise: A Hypothetical Reader’s Perspective on Mary’s Work in the Protevangelium of James” at the Annual Meeting of the SBL, Atlanta, GA. 20 November

2015                      “Spear Wounds and Sleigh Bells: Believing and Seeing in the Gospel of John and The Polar Express” at the Annual Meeting of the SBL, Atlanta, GA. 21 November

2015                      “You Shall Die on the Mountain? On Moses’ Presence in the Synoptic Transfiguration Narratives” at the Annual Meeting of the SBL, Atlanta, GA. 21 November

2015                      “Expanding the Apocryphal Corpus: Some ‘Novel’ Suggestions” at the York Christian Apocrypha Symposium, Toronto, Ontario. 25 September

2013                      “A Virgin Shall Spin and Bear a Son: Reconsidering Mary’s Work in the Protevangelium of James” at the Annual Meeting of the SBL, Baltimore, MD. 24 November

2013                      “Whose Love? An Exegetical Analysis of Bernard Lonergan’s Use of Romans 5:5” at Lonergan on the Edge, Milwaukee, WI. 20 September

2012                      “The Virgin, the Moirae, and the Birth of the Messiah:Toward a Christological Understanding of the Protevangelium Jacobi”at the Midwest Regional SBL,Bourbonnais, IL.12 February

2011                      “The Wine of Cana and the ὄξος of the Cross: The Hour of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel” at the Upper Midwest Regional SBL, St. Paul, MN. 2 April

2010                      Response to Jackson Lashier, “Irenaeus on the Generation of the Logos,” Jewish Roots of Christian Mysticism panel, “Logos Theologies of the Second Century,” Milwaukee, WI. 12 April

2010                      “Koheleth, Toil, and the Prodigal Son: Reading Luke’s Parable through the Eyes of the Teacher” at the Upper Midwest Regional SBL, St. Paul, MN. 10 April

2009                      “Be Imitators of Me, as I am of Christ: René Girard’s Mimetic Theory in St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians” at the Upper Midwest Regional SBL, St. Paul, MN. 28 March

Other Presentations

2019                     “Bible Scholars: What are they good for?” at PUBlic Theology at Mountain Valley Brewing Company, Martinsville, VA. 8 May

2018                      “Jesus: A Messiah in Our Image?” at PUBlic Theology at Mountain Valley Brewing Company, Martinsville, VA. 14 November

2017                      “Rabbi Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Christianity” and “Anti-Semitism in the New Testament,” at Temple Emanuel Adult Education, Roanoke, VA. 7 and 14 November

2016                      “Story and Storytelling in Early Christianity,” at Temple Emanuel Adult Education, Roanoke, VA. 1 November

2015                      “Tell Your Girlfriend that She Looks Like a Horse, and Other Biblical Dating Advice,” at the Ferrum College “Inquiring Minds” series, Ferrum, VA. 21 October

2015                      “Jesus: A Messiah in Our Image?” at the Ferrum College “Inquiring Minds” series, Ferrum, VA. 1 April

2014                      “The Rich Man and Lazarus: What Can Historical-Critical Methodology Reveal?” at the Marquette University Scripture Project, Milwaukee, WI. 16 April