This blog is an attempt on my part to provide a forum for my research, thoughts, and experiences as a student of religion, the Bible, and the ancient Near East. Originally from West Virginia, I’ve also lived in Maryland, California, Colorado, Texas, Uruguay, Utah, the United Kingdom, and Washington State. I was married in May of 2006 to my special lady from Utah and have three precocious little girls. I received my bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in ancient Near Eastern studies, where I focused on Biblical Hebrew and minored in Classical Greek. I completed a master of studies in Jewish studies at the University of Oxford in July of 2010 and a master of arts in biblical studies in 2013 at Trinity Western University just outside of Vancouver, BC. I recently successfully defended my doctoral dissertation written for the University of Exeter on the cognitive science of religion and the conceptualization of deity and divine agency in the Hebrew Bible. In 2018, I was the Democratic candidate for the Utah State House of Representatives in House District 52, taking 16 points off the incumbent’s long-held 50-point lead. At the moment I am the Democratic candidate for the Utah State Senate in Senate District 10 for the 2020 election. I currently work as a scripture translation supervisor for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City.
While I have a number of research interests that wrangle for what free time I have available, my areas of specialization are Second Temple Judaism, early Israelite religion, textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, early christology, the cognitive science of religion, cognitive linguistics, and religious identity. At Oxford I focused on Second Temple Judaism, and my thesis was entitled “Anti-Anthropomorphism and the Vorlage of LXX Exodus” (available here). My thesis at Trinity Western University focused on the conceptualization of deity in the Hebrew Bible in cognitive perspective (available here). I have also been studying the way these conceptualizations of deity informed the development of the Christ tradition (I published a paper on this in 2017). My dissertation at the University of Exeter examines the concept of divine agency in early Israelite and Jewish thought and practice through the lens of the cognitive science of religion. It seeks to answer questions related to the use of divine images in antiquity and how they were both identified with and distinguished from their associated deities.
In addition to the study of religion, I do quite a bit of artwork (some here, and I also do the cartoon for Biblical Archaeology Review’s cartoon caption contest), I was a licensed massage therapist (I let my license expire & just work on family & friends now), and I love to play golf. I hope you find something educational, useful, or entertaining here, and I invite any and all comments here on my blog. Have a wonderful day!