- Associate Professor
My research has been concentrated on the development of Christianity as it emerged from within the context of Second Temple Judaism through to the establishment of various diverse Christian communities within the context of the Greco-Roman Empire. This early period of Christian history is not defined by the boundaries or perimeters of the canon and creed. In fact, for an apporopriate assessment, one must engage with the full range of "scriptural" literature including texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls, Gnostic Gospels, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, New Testament Apocrypha, the Magical Papyri and others. Further, this diversity of sources neccessitates an engagment with the specific geographical cultures as revealed through the archaeological discoveries and Roman sources in order to appropriately reconstruct the various Christian communities. In particular, my research is currently focused on non-canonical literature prominent within Christian Egypt such as the Protevangelium of James and the Gospel of Joseph the Carpenter with a specific interest in the reflection and incorporation of these texts witin the religiosity of the early Coptic Church in terms of interpretation, practice and material culture. This interest is tied, through the figures of Anna and Mary, to the issue of female figures and women's roles within the early churches and the recovery of this information through an interdisciplinary approach that utilizes insights from cultural studies. Finally, this interest in the diversity of interpretation and literature informs a side exploration into religion and film.