I am Professor of Religious Studies in the College of Professional and Continuing Studies at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma.
My interests are in the development of early Christianity and in particular in the various ways in which Christianity emerges away from Jewish understandings. More recently, I have turned to rhetorical analysis of ancient texts as a way of probing this same question. My recent book, Galatians and the Rhetoric of Crisis: Demosthenes, Cicero and Paul (2016), evaluates the ways in which Paul creates opposition in order to persuade of his particular religious understandings. In an earlier work, Circumcision as a Malleable Symbol (2010), I indicate the varieties of interpretations of the Jewish rite of circumcision in ancient texts, in the books of the Maccabees, in Jubilees, Josephus, Philo and in Paul’s letters, and challenge the common assumption of a unitary signification for ancient circumcision. At present (fall 2018), I have begun a new project that involves an analysis of the Pauline letters more generally.
I am a fellow and active member of Westar Institute, an organization dedicated to religious literacy. Along with Prof. Clayton Jefford, I co-edit Westar’s scholarly journal Forum and serve on the steering committee of Westar’s Christianity Seminar.