Research

My research interests focus on the historical, religious, and cultural contexts of biblical Israel; rhetorical and literary criticism of the Hebrew Bible; the history of deities in the ancient world; and how empires affect peripheral societies.

My first book, The Ammonites: Elites, Empires, and Sociopolitical Change (1000–500 BCE), which was published in 2014, investigates the social history of the Ammonites, one of the neighbors of ancient Israel and Judah. While the Bible casts Ammonite origins into the hoary past—the result of incest between Lot and his daughters (Genesis 19)—most of the extant sources for Ammonite history date to the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods (ca. 750–500 BCE). The book investigates the archaeological, epigraphic, and biblical evidence for the course of Ammon’s history, setting it squarely within the context of ancient Near Eastern imperialism. Drawing on cross-cultural parallels from the archaeology of empires, it elucidates the dynamic processes by which the local Ammonite elite negotiated their existence in the face of the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian empires.

The project I am currently working on is entitled, Empire and Agency: The Periphery in the Neo-Assyrian Empire, and is co-edited with Virginia Rimmer Herrmann, Universität Göttingen. It looks at the ways that smaller societies on the edge of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (934–612 BCE) developed and responded to Assyrian Imperialism.