Chair, Division of Humanities, Associate Professor of Religion

I am a native Tennessean--born and raised just outside of Kingsport, Tennessee. When I left home for college in the fall of 1992, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to major in or what my future vocation might be. I was 'still deciding.' It was in a required course during the spring semester of my first year, Introduction to the Old Testament, that I found my calling and my passion. After graduating from Emory & Henry College with a double major in Religion and German Language and Literature, I went off to seminary and eventually pursued my doctoral degree at Emory University in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. While in graduate school, I was fortunate to serve several United Methodist congregations in the greater Atlanta area. I have a deep passion for biblical literature and am always happiest when talking about the Bible with students.  

I came to Maryville College in the fall of 2006. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I love learning with students, watching them grow and discover new things, and am honored when I am invited to dream about their futures with them.

My scholarly interests focus primarily on the various ways in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims have read and interpreted sacred texts over the centuries. My dissertation, entitled Babel's Tower Translated: Genesis 11 and ancient Jewish Interpretation, was published by Brill Academic. I am also working on a number of projects related to the multitude of ways in which human beings think about and relate to the larger animal world.

I am also very excited to be working with Maryville Adventures in Studying Theology (or M.A.S.T), a Lilly Endowment-funded resource that strengthens youth ministry by offering educational programming that deepens theological investigation, builds leadership capacity, and fosters an intentional community of youth, youth ministers, and laity.

Fall 2018

Religion 149:What is Christianity?

Religion 212: World Religions

Religion 344: The Biblical Lives of Animals



The Maryville Seminar on the Socially Engaged Teaching of the Bible

Teaching a Bible That Matters Podcast

Episode #1: Dr. Bryan Bibb (Furman University)

Episode #2: Dr. Kelly Murphy (Central Michigan University)

Episode #3: Dr. Eric Vanden Eykel (Ferrum College)

Recent Interviews with New Books Network

Mira Beth Wasserman, Jews, Gentiles, and Other Animals: The Talmud After the Humanities

Rhiannon Graybill, Are We Not Men?: Unstable Masculinity in the Hebrew Prophets.

Mira Balberg, Blood for Thought: The Reinvention of Sacrifice in Early Rabbinic Literature.

 Recent Community Presentations

Evangelicalism: Past, Present, and Future @ First Presbyterian Church, Oak Ridge.

Islam 101 "Conversation Matters"@ First United Methodist Church, Maryville, TN.

Homosexuality and the Future of the United Methodist Church "Conversation Matters"

First United Methodist Church, Maryville, TN


Recently Published

Babel's Tower Translated: Genesis 11 and Ancient Jewish Interpretation.  Leiden: Brill, 2013.

 "Animals," in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Law. Ed. Brent Strawn. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. 


Interviews and Discussions

Interview with Dr. Jordan Rosenblum on The Jewish Dietary Laws in the Ancient World.

Interview with Dr. Joshua Guthman on Strangers Below: Primitive Baptists and American Culture.

Interview with Dr. Dov Weiss on Pious Irreverence: Confronting God in Rabbinic Literature.

Interview with Dr. Eva Mroczek on The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity.

Interview with Dr. Erin Darby on Judean Pillar Figurines

Review of Michael Walzer's In God's Shadow: Politics in the Hebrew Bible 

Review of Erin Runions' The Babylon Complex.