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I attended Carleton College, a small liberal arts school in southern Minnesota. There I first developed my interest in studying the world's religions. After graduation, I managed Sony Corporation's in-house English language training program for three and a half years, in Tokyo, Japan. That helped me realize I belong in the classroom. Thereafter, I studied the history of Christian theology at Yale Divinity School, from which I received a Master of Divinity—in retrospect a funny name for a degree since, after all, who can claim to have mastered divinity? I next attended Yale's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where I focused my studies on the history of Christian biblical interpretation. A revised version of my doctoral dissertation was published in 2003 by the University of Notre Dame Press as Hans Urs von Balthasar's Theological Aesthetics: A Model for Post-Critical Biblical Interpretation. After receiving my Ph.D., I taught at the University of Miami for five years, then at Cornell University for two years before beginning at Siena in the fall of 2004. Here I have taught Introduction to Religious Thought, World Religions, The Catholic Tradition, The Modern Search for Jesus, and Science and Religion. I have also been fortunate to mentor several honors theses. In addition to my book, my publications to date include four peer-reviewed book chapters, three peer-reviewed journal articles, two editor-reviewed journal article, three encyclopedia entries, and numerous book reviews. My scholarship examines Christian biblical interpretation, with particular reference to comparing the theories and practices of pre-modern and post-modern Christian theologians; contemporary Roman Catholic theology, especially the works of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Karl Rahner, SJ; and inter-religious dialogue. At present I am working on a book exploring the implications for biblical interpretation of liturgical participation.

Degree Program University
Ph.D. Religious Studies Yale University
M.A. Yale University Graduate School
M.Phil. Yale University Graduate School
M.Div. cum laude Yale Divinity School
A.B. Religion Carleton College

My Siena Experience

My Teaching Philosophy

My decision to teach religious studies reflects a belief in the value of culti-vating in one¬self and one's students the capacity for critical reflection upon the sorts of fundamental religious questions with which humans have wrestled in virtually every historical age and cultural context. Our society, it seems to me, needs people who grasp the importance of asking such questions and who are able to articulate responses--however provisional these must necessarily be--in light of the answers given in one's own and other cultures. Behind this sentiment stand three related but distinguishable convictions. First, part of the value of a liberal arts education that accepts the cultural significance of religions is the opportunity it provides to enhance one's appreciation for the variety within the world's religious traditions and the richness of their intellectual and practical resources. Sec¬ond, it is salutary to have the currents of radically different places and times wash through one's mind, exposing within it the unexam¬ined and habitual, and opening it to other means of understand¬ing and relating to oneself and one's world. Third, to appreci¬ate what is foreign requires us to develop a set of dispositions and skills that will serve us well both in and out of the class-room. In order to see beyond the boundaries of our own experience, we must learn and relearn to approach what is different with an open mind; to acknowl¬edge the limitations of any single perspective; to think independently, but with preci¬sion; and to write and speak persuasively. I strive in all of my courses to meet these broad goals by using a variety of teaching techniques: small group discus¬sions, inter-active lectures, close readings of primary texts, regular and extensive written assignments, and extra-curricular group projects.

My Professional Experience

Year Title University
2009 - Now Professor Siena College
2004 - 2009 Associate Professor Siena College
2004 - 2009 Visiting Associate Scholar Cornell University
2002 - 2004 Visiting Assistant Professor Cornell University
1997 - 2002 Lecturer and Visiting Assistant Professor University of Miami

Current Research

My scholarship examines Christian biblical interpretation, with particular reference to comparing the theories and practices of pre-modern and post-modern Christian theologians; contemporary Roman Catholic theology, especially the works of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Karl Rahner, SJ; and inter-religious dialogue. At present I am working on a book exploring the implications for biblical interpretation of liturgical participation.

Articles & Book Reviews

  • Living Upside Down: Inverting Consumerism's Notion of Freedom
    Theology Today, vol. 74
    January, 2018
  • Review of Ritualized Faith: Essays on the Philosophy of Liturgy by Terence Cuneo (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), x + 228 pp.
    Modern Theology, vol. 33
    2017
  • Review of Theology and the Drama of History, by Ben Quash
    Scottish Journal of Theology
    2010
  • The Liturgical Shaping of Biblical Interpretation
    Heythrop Journal: A Bi-Monthly Review of Philosophy and Theology
    2009
  • Paths and Pitfalls for Interreligious Understanding
    Trilogue Salzburg Proceedings, volume 7 (Gütersloh, Germany: Bertelsmann Stiftung)
    2008
  • Review of Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Dramatic Structure of Truth: A Philosophical Investigation, by D. C. Schindler
    Modern Theology
    2007
  • Frank Conversations: Promoting Peace among the Abrahamic Traditions through Interreligious Dialogue
    Journal of Religious Ethics
    2006
  • Interreligious Dialogue: Encountering an Other or Ourselves?
    Theology Today
    2006
  • Review of La Lucha Continues: Mujerista Theology, by Ada María Isasi-Diáz
    MultiCultural Review
    2005
  • Review of Is There a Meaning in This Text? The Bible, The Reader, and the Morality of Literary Knowledge, by Kevin J. Vanhoozer
    Religious Studies Review
    2000
  • Review of Die Kunst des Bibellesens: Theologische Ästhetik am Beispiel des Schriftverständnisses, by Rainer Fischer
    Religious Studies Review
    1999
  • Review of Take, Read: Scripture, Textuality and Cultural Practice, by Wesley A. Kort
    Religious Studies Review
    1999
  • Review of The Biblical Commission's Document, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church: Text and Commentary, by Joseph A. Fitzmyer
    Religious Studies Review
    1999
  • Review of The Marian Principle in the Church According to Hans Urs von Balthasar, by Ben F. Meyer
    Religious Studies Review
    1999
  • Review of Reality and Illusion in New Testament Scholarship, by Ben F. Meyer
    Religious Studies Review
    1996
  • Review of What is Theological Exegesis? by Mary Kathleen Cunningham
    Religious Studies Review
    1996
  • Review of Herrlichkeit des Neuen Bundes, by Volker Spangenberg
    Religious Studies Review
    1995
  • Review of Gary Wills, Why Priests? A Failed Tradition
    Dialog: A Journal of Theology, vol. 53
    Winter, 2014

Awards & Distinctions

  • Summer Scholarship Grant from Siena College's Committee on Teaching and Faculty Development
    Category: Other
    Siena College's Committee on Teaching and Faculty Development, 2008
  • Dissertation Fellowship, Yale University Graduate School
    Category: Other
    Yale University Graduate School, 1994
  • University Fellowship, Yale University Graduate School
    Category: Other
    Yale University Graduate School, 1992
  • Timothy Dwight Prize, Yale Divinity School
    Category: Other
    Yale Divinity School, 1988
  • Winston Trever Scholarship, Yale Divinity School
    Category: Other
    Yale Divinity School, 1988

Books & Book Chapters

  • Christian Theologies of Salvation: A Comparative Introduction
    NYU Press
    2017
  • The New Cambridge History of the Bible, Volume IV: Modernity, Colonialism and their Successors
    Cambridge University Press
    2015
  • Christian Theologies of Scripture: A Comparative Introduction

    2006
  • The Cambridge Companion to Hans Urs von Balthasar

    2004
  • Hans Urs von Balthasar's Theological Aesthetics: A Model for Post-Critical Biblical Interpretation

    2003