I am a specialist in early Christian literature and culture (1st-10th centuries), with secondary expertise in early Judaism (especially Philo and Josephus), ancient philosophy (especially Platonism), and critical theory. I teach across the full geographic and linguistic range of Christianity in the first millennium, from Gaul to Mesopotamia. My research has focused on the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East, particularly figures and traditions associated with Roman Judaea-Palestine, Egypt, and Syria.

A central aspect of my research has been thinking about difference and belonging in antiquity.

My more recent work has turned to consider language and its embodiment in texts. In my translation and commentary work, in several published articles and essays, as well as in a monograph in progress on Origenist Textualities, I study how early Christians—and in turn, those who engage their writings today—theorize the ethics of textuality; that is, ways of thinking and doing writing, reading, interpreting, and book production.

I am also beginning a research project that traces my interests in Christian reading and book culture into the middle Byzantine period, to which we owe the manuscripts that preserve the majority of ancient Christian literature (and, indeed, most of classical Greek literature more broadly).

My courses focus on the cultural, social, and literary histories of religion and religions in the late-ancient and early medieval Mediterranean and Near East. I encourage an eclectic approach to the study of ancient religions, encouraging students to to consider the ways in which different theories and methods—traditional and avant-garde—can inform one another.

y work considers several interrelated topics: 1) the formation of religious, cultural, and ethnic identities in late antiquity, 2) the intersections of philosophical and religious discourses and the politics of Roman imperialism, and 3) the history of intellectual and literary production—Christian, Jewish, and “pagan”—in antiquity. I also explore the ways in which the study of ancient religions contributes to trans-disciplinary conversations about the formation and contestation identities, the comparative study of imperialism, and the histories of intellectual culture and western literature.

At present, I am researching the history of textuality—ways of thinking and doing the work of reading, writing, and interpreting—in late antiquity.

My study focuses on Eusebius as a reader and a writer to reveal the extent to which he developed innovative ways of addressing the practice and theory of reading and writing. I draw on theories of intertextuality, post-colonial theory, and contemporary theoretical work on the history of books and reading to situate Christian literary production in relation to a complex constellation of forces at work in the early fourth century.

Research Interests:

  • Religions of the Late Ancient and Early Medieval/Byzantine Mediterranean and Near East
  • Cultural and Social History of Late Antiquity and the Later Roman Empire
  • Contemporary Theory and the Study of Premodernity
  • Ancient Philosophy (esp. the Platonic tradition)
  • Ancient and Contemporary Literary Theory
  • Book History

Research Areas

  • Religions of the Late Ancient and Early Medieval/Byzantine Mediterranean and Near East

Keywords: Religion and Society

Classics, Middle Eastern Studies, Religious Studies
PhD, Duke University, Religion, 2005
MA, Duke University, Religion, 2002
BA, University of Rochester, Religion and English, 1999