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I am professor of religious studies and Judaic studies at Brown University.

I received my Ph.D. in Ancient Judaism at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1993.  My research focuses on the social and religious history of Jews and Judaism in antiquity, but I also have broader research interests on Jews and Judaism as well as on issues of method and theory in the study of religion.

My most recent book is How the Bible Became Holy (Yale UP, 2014).  This book explores the evolution of the texts that Jews and Christians would consider “holy” from their beginnings, in the eighth century BCE, through the third century CE.   My previous book, Creating Judaism: History, Tradition, Practice (Columbia UP, 2006) developed a model for understanding “Judaism” from a religious studies perspective.  It is commonly used as a textbook in colleges and for adult education classes.

I am also the author of Jewish Marriage in Antiquity (Princeton UP, 2001) and Tasting the Dish: Rabbinic Rhetorics of Sexuality (Brown Judaic Studies, 1995), editor of The Gift in Antiquity (Wiley, 2013), and a co-editor of Religion and the Self in Antiquity (Indiana UP, 2005). I am currently working on a study of Jewish popular piety in Late Antiquity.

Among other projects, I am also working on an online collection of ancient inscriptions from Israel/Palestine and a digital humanities project that visualizes the relationship between the classical rabbis.  I have also developed a podcast series, “From Israelite to Jew,” best accessed through iTunesU (Brown University).

I teach both graduate and undergraduate students.  My courses include: “Religion and Sexuality”; “Faith and Violence”; “Religion in the Dead Sea Scrolls”; “The Talmud”; “Judaism, Christianity, and the Bible”; and “The Mishnah.”  I also frequently teach adult education courses and deliver public lectures.

I have received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies, was a Fulbright Scholar, and held the Seymour Gitin Distinguished Professorship at the W. F. Albright Institute.

For a full CV, click here.