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.
- The ambiguity or lack of clarity in New Testament texts. 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 & the hermeneutic of suspicion. 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.
- The Septuagint, particularly the Deuterocanonical Books. I co-convene, at the Catholic Biblical Association annual meeting, the section "The Deuterocanonical Books: Current Approaches," with Prof. Jeremy Corley of Ushaw College, Durham, England. See my article on the several interesting connections between the Book of Tobit and New Testament texts in Intertextual Studies in Ben Sira and Tobit .
- 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.
- Theology and spirituality of the biblical idea of adoption. I would like to write a short book on this topic that would benefit people who have adopted children and children who have been adopted so that they can relate their lives to the powerful ideas and imagery of the biblical passages that may in some way relate to the topic. Since the biblical ideas concerning "adoption" are very different from the practice of adoption in our culture, some historical and cultural context is a necessary part of a responsible overview. The trick is to distill the essense of informed analysis for a wider audience. I do not want to write a scholarly monograph on this topic. The book would help people who face adoption misunderstandings and prejudices common in our culture read Scripture on this topic in an intelligent and spiritually nourishing way. Trying to relate to the often obscure and strange foundational texts of our faith need not be anachronistic.