Bio

I am an affiliate lecturer in the Comparative Religion Program, University of Washington in Seattle WA USA and have taught at Seattle University, Willamette University, and McGill University. My research interests focus on ancient religious traditions, specifically early Christianity from the first to fourth century, though I have strong interests in method and theory in the academic study of religion as well as in the study of religion and violence (ancient and modern). I hold a Ph.D. degree (2005) in religious studies from McGill University, Montreal QC Canada (with a dissertation on paraenetic discourse in Valentinianism). Most of my work in antiquity centers on social history, non-canonical texts, epistolary analysis, and apocryphal as well as heretical traditions.

Research Interests and Activity

I am the author of four books (Compositional Transition in 1 Peter [1997], Conceiving Peace and Violence [2004], Valentinian Ethics and Paraenetic Discourse [2009], and The Apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans [2012] and co-editor of a fifth book (Religion, Terror and Violence [2008]) along with numerous academic articles published in various academic books and journals (e.g., Journal of Biblical Literature, Journal of Early Christian Studies, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Harvard Theological Review, Teaching Theology and Religion, and Method and Theory in the Study of Religion).

Currently I serve as the editor of the Bulletin for the Study of Religion, co-editor of Postscripts: A Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds, and founding editor of the book series “Studies in Ancient Religion and Culture” (published by Equinox). I also serve on the editorial board of the Journal of Religion and Violence, the program committee for the AAR Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence Group, and formerly on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. I also serve as editor for the “Epistles” section of the e-Clavis Christian Apocrypha project, which is maintained by the North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature (NASSCAL).

Current research projects include a book project on the apocryphal letters of Paul. This project builds on my book, The Apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans: An Epistolary and Rhetorical Analysis (TENT, 7; Brill, 2012), which is the only modern monograph on this Latin letter and one of the few recent works that breaks from the dismissive approach to this letter. My new project will offer an introduction, fresh translations, and commentary on several ancient letters written in Paul’s name from the second century onward.

I also have a fascination with religion and humor in modern societies. As editor of the Bulletin, I organized a thematic issue on this topic in order to jump into the topic. In addition I designed a special topics course at the University of Washington a few years ago as a venue for theorizing data for two book projects I have in mind (one an academic monograph, the other an edited volume).

I continue to have strong interests in ancient Gnosticism and the Nag Hammadi Codices, though over the years I have expanded my interests to other apocryphal texts as well as martyrdom traditions. Several article projects are currently underway, such as on the Gospel of Peter. I have also translated and written a comprehensive introduction to a Coptic Encomium on John the Baptist for the first volume of the More New Testament Apocrypha (MNTA) project (published by Eerdmans in 2016).

A few years ago, under the influence of my then significant other (a talented archaeologist and wonderful human being), my interests in antiquity were expanded from textual analysis to material culture (and to find points of intersection between them). For example, I published a “narrative” analysis of a set of fourth-century mosaics from Roman Britain, which have a strong mixture of Christian and Greco-Roman mythical images set within a spatial setting of moral progression through dualistic struggle. This article appeared in the inaugural special issue of the Bollettino di Archeologia Online (the conference proceeding of the 2008 International Congress of Classical Archaeology), though an earlier presentation of that paper was given in Amsterdam at the Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference (TRAC 2008). I have also drawn upon stable isotope analysis of Roman diet to reassess socio-economic readings of 1 Cor. 8-10 (a paper given at the 2014 SBL annual meeting).

The Personal Side

As a Canadian scholar living in the United States – and having lived in the United Kingdom for four years – I have developed a fascination and deep appreciation for diverse cultural expressions. I was born in Owen Sound ON Canada, but raised in Toronto. I’ve lived in the heart of Seattle for over six years, where I share my home with two amazing cats (Lyr and Freyja), my four quail, and a small balcony garden from which I can see the Space Needle and, on a clear day, the mountains and the bay. I have a love of art, literature, and food. I also have a love of pop culture, specifically comic books from the 1960s to ’80s, and have volunteered for the charity Heroes Initiative. I also enjoy creative writing, though I have only published a handful of short stories and poems (speculative fiction and fantasy) in token markets, though I do have a few graphic novels begging to come out of me.

I am very much an antiquarian. I love history and I love old things. A former professor of mine at Wilfrid Laurier University, upon learning that I had some sort of relational connection to Sir William Tite (the British architect from the 19th century), once remarked “well you come by it honestly enough”. I love old books and libraries. When I travel, I want to explore ancient buildings, ruins, museums, and wander through historic landscapes. I also have a few antiques — including a small collection of straight razors, an old spinning wheel, a collection of vintage dress hats (which I do wear on occasion), and a tea trolley along with a collection of tea pots and tea cups.

 

 

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