I am a lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies at UC-Santa Barbara, where I teach courses on ancient Judaism, and the relations of law and religion. I majored in biblical studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and then continued to graduate studies at Princeton University, where I wrote a dissertation entitled “Law and Society in the Dead Sea Scrolls.” I am also interested in contemporary Israel, and am the editor of the Israel studies Bulletin Board, which serves as a major resource for scholars worldwide.
My research has developed in two directions. As a specialist in Second Temple literature, I am interested in the ways Judaism and Christianity were born of this tumultuous period, and the lingering legacy of this period on both to this day. In other words, I see the study of the Second Temple period as a key to understanding cultural exchange and dialogue between these two traditions. I am working on a new commentary on The Lives of the Prophets, a pseudepigraphic text of Hellenistic Judaism, as a case study for these issues, examining themes of sacred space, scriptural authority, revelation, as the pertain to the text in Jewish and Christian contexts.
My other area of interest seeks to combine contemporary critical theory with the study of ancient texts. My first monograph, “Theory and Practice in Essene Law,” employs legal theory, sociology, and spatial analysis in order to reconstruct the living law of the Essenes in general, and the Yahad in particular, applying contemporary terminology for the elucidation of the legal material of the Judean Desert Scrolls. I am currently working on the import of silence and censorship in ancient Judaism, using rhetorical analysis, literary theory, and legal theory, to explore the manifold roles of silence in the Hebrew Bible, Second Temple texts, and rabbinic Judaism.
As a firm believer in education as an ongoing dialectic process, I welcome any opportunity for dialogue. My preferred method of contact is e-mail through the contact form below, but I can also be reached by the social networks Facebook and Academia.edu.