My research interests include the following:
- Hieronymian studies (= the study of Jerome's translation of the Bible). My published doctoral dissertation was on Jerome's rendering of the Book of Tobit. Ongoing project: I have been working on a monograph on Jerome's knowledge of Aramaic. My article on Jerome's use of exempla in his translations began as a footnote in my forthcoming monograph on Jerome's understanding of Aramaic.
- Textual ambiguity. It is interesting to study the ambiguity of the Greek language, particularly as it relates to the debate on Greek verbal aspect. I wrote an article on the syntax and the ambiguity of a participle in Rev 13:8 in Studies in the Greek Bible. I am interested in the topic of soteriology in general and am fascinated by the way Christian traditions read difficult and ambiguous texts with unwarranted confidence. For instance, I read a paper, "Does Paul Refer to Christ's Death as Sacrifice in 1 Corinthians 5:7? at Catholic Biblical Association of America annual meeting, Fordham University, New York, August, 2008. My study went in a completely different direction from what I had anticipated. I ended up arguing that the sacrificial metaphor is more complicated than usually acknowledged because the noun "Passover" may refer to more animals than simply a lamb. My hunch is that people tend to read the noun in 1 Cor 5:7 with unstated presuppositions derived from readings of John 1:19.
- Subversive uses of Scripture. It is interesting to examine the sometimes subtle ways people and groups have subverted oppressive readings of Scripture. The classic and perhaps obvious example in the United States is the sometimes subtle ways the slave narratives subvert the problematic readings of Scripture forced upon them in the ante-bellum period by the dominant white culture. The slave narratives have vastly different ways of using the Bible depending on the presuppositions of a person's religious denomination, and for the same reason some of the narratives do not use the Bible at all. James Baldwin's sophisticated and varied use of Scripture in his novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, is a literary descendant of the subversive readings in the Slave Narratives. I teach a course in our Honors Program that explores this topic: "From Slave Narratives to James Baldwin: Overcoming Oppressive Readings of Scripture." I have been writing an article on Baldwin's use of Scripture.
- John's Apocalypse and Apocalyptic theology and spirituality. I teach a writing-intensive upper division course on this topic "War, Peace, and the Apocalypse" (THEO 3350W). I would like to write a short book on the topic of apocalyptic spirituality that is accessible to educated adults such as the students in my course.