Department of Religion and Philosophy
Emory University, PhD; Candler School of Theology, MDiv
Emory University, BA
Research and Teaching Interests
History of Early Christianity, including the Patristics Period as well as the status and role of women during that time.
Professional Affiliations and Awards
- Otterbein Teacher of the Year 2014
- United Methodist Teacher of the Year 2014
- “Montanus: Heretic or Spirit-Filled Prophet,” The Fourth R 26:6 (November-December 2013).
- “The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas,” The Fourth R 24:6 (November-December 2011), pp. 5-11, 22.
- “Irenaeus of Lyons: Defender of Orthodoxy,” The Fourth R 22:4 (July-August 2009), pp. 7-12.
I've been interested in history ever since I was a boy. In middle school I devoured biographies of Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, and Cyrus of Persia, and was fairly certain that I just had to be the reincarnation of a Roman soldier. That fascination, together with the fact that I grew up in the Bible Belt (in the 1950s there really was such a thing) meant that religion and history just naturally ran together for me. I earned an undergraduate degree from Emory University where I majored in religion. The most crucial aspect of those years was my discovery of the difference between a confessional approach to religion and its academic study, an experience that kindled a passion that has not faded to this day. My graduate studies (also at Emory) focused on the history of early Christianity along with the Greek philosophers who profoundly influenced Christianity during those early centuries. My first teaching position was at Brevard University in North Carolina where I was assigned introductory courses in religion and in philosophy. I left the Carolina mountains in 1991 for Otterbein University where I was able to add to that introductory mix some more advanced courses in the history of Christianity. For a time I also taught an introductory course on Eastern Religions along with courses on ethics and effective thinking. Several years ago my interests broadened still further to include a course on Native American religions. For the past twenty years I have also taught two courses in the history of Christianity for the United Methodist Course of Study School at Candler Seminary in Atlanta, and more recently for the parallel school at the United Methodist seminary in Delaware, Ohio.