As the granddaughter of Lutheran missionaries, I grew up with plenty of Sunday School knowledge. But it wasn’t until after I had earned a Ph. D. in biology and was teaching as a college professor that I discovered startling new insights which would deepen – and ultimately strengthen – my Christian faith.
In a church class I began studying the Bible in its Middle Eastern setting and finding answers to questions that had bothered me for ages. The more I read about Jesus’ first-century world, the more fascinated I became.
Discovering the answers to head-scratching questions and sharing the “ah-hah” moments with others has always been a passion of mine. So, I began learning Hebrew, studying in the land of Israel, and exploring recent scholarship on Jesus’ Jewish world. Ultimately, I left a life in academia to devote myself full-time to teaching and writing on the topic, and now have been at it for about fifteen years.
My most recent book is Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus (Zondervan, 2012). In it I ask, what difference does it make that Jesus was Jewish for how we live today? I look at some of Jesus’ most important words in light of their Jewish context, and consider the implications for disciples in the twenty-first century.
Preceding that book I partnered with Ann Spangler, best-selling Christian author (Praying the Names of God, Women of God) to write Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus. (Zondervan, 2009) The book immerses readers in the culture and history of first-century Jews to show how they shed light on the ministry of Jesus.
I got my formal start back in 2001, when I co-founded a ministry called the En-Gedi Resource Center and began writing articles about the Bible in its context. There, we published my first book, Listening to the Language of the Bible, a devotional guide to Hebrew words and ideas. I headed that ministry until January 2007, but now I write full time.
At the present moment I’m working on a new book called Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus. It will be a practical guide for more authentic, “artisanal” Bible study, with insights from Jesus’ Jewish culture that equip Christians to read the Bible from a Hebraic perspective.