BA Brandeis University in Classics, PhD Harvard University in Comparative Literature
I come to the field of Religious Studies from the disciplines of philology and literary analysis. As an undergraduate, I studied the languages, literatures, and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Israel. I received my PhD in Comparative Literature, emphasizing the intersection of classical and biblical studies. My work focuses on ancient Greek poetry and historiography, Hebrew Bible, the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, midrash (Jewish interpretation of the Bible), Hellenistic culture and scholarship, the New Testament and early Christian literature, and Yiddish language and literature. My theoretical interests are in poetics, literary and critical theory, theories of religion, and approaches to culture that derive from the study of anthropology (performance theory, gift exchange and economics of pre-literate societies, myth and ritual, and structuralism).
I am the author of The Ascension of Authorship: Attribution, Textualization, and Canon Formation in Jewish, Hellenistic, and Christian Traditions (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004), together with articles on Pseudepigraphy, Biblical Characters in Jewish Greek Literature, and modern Yiddish literature. I am currently completing a book on Artapanus, who wrote encomiastic biographies in Greek of the patriarchs Abraham, Joseph, and Moses and their putative role in the creation of ancient Egyptian culture.
I regularly teach RELS 204 Judaism, RELS 205 History of the Jewish Peoples, RELS 265 C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien: Theology and Myth, RELS 301 Greek Myth and Ritual, RELS 303 Hebrew Bible, RELS 307 New Testament, GREK 101 and 102 Beginning Ancient Greek I and II, and HUMN 220 Arts and Ideas: Ancient/Medieval.