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Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies
L & L Building Room 337
I love researching and teaching comparative religion. I believe that understanding religion helps us to better understand other people and ourselves, and the insights gained from Religious Studies can be transformational, both personally and professionally. At Central, I teach modern religions, yet continue to research ancient religions and find that my research and teaching continue to influence each other. My research focuses on the intersection of human and divine in the Hebrew Bible (Christian Old Testament) and the ancient Near East. I am especially interested in understanding ancient conceptions of god and how these led to the emergence of monotheism (the belief in one god).
My academic journey has been a long and winding one. I’ve moved fifteen times in my fifteen years of marriage (to an extremely tolerant and wonderful wife). I began as an economics major at Amherst College before having an existential crisis and pursuing the meaning of life. Rather than go to Wall Street, I began studying religion with stops in Chicago, Boston, Jerusalem and Cambridge, where I received my Ph.D. Afterwards, I did postdoctoral research in Munich for two years. Since I’ve been back stateside, I’ve bounced around quite a bit before coming to Ellensburg, with teaching gigs at Georgetown, St. Joseph’s, Scranton and Syracuse.
Along the way, I’ve written two books (Keeping Heaven on Earth: Safeguarding the Divine Presence in the Priestly Tabernacle and Gods in Dwellings: Temples and Divine Presence in the Ancient Near East) and many articles. I’m working on a third book, Yahweh among the Gods (now under contract with Cambridge University Press), and have been in talks with Oxford University Press about a fourth, Ancient Gods and Monsters. I love discussing religion and life more broadly. In fact, the best part of my job is probably making personal connections with my students and helping to shape how they approach the world. So, please come by for a chat!
Congratulations to Dr. Matthew Altman for his recent publication: A Theory of Legal Punishment:FEB 22: Philosophy Of Punishment
2.22.22 | 6PM | SURC Theatre Come join us for a philosophical and politiAPR 5: The Good Life Project
The Good Life Project Happiness and The Good Life Tue, April 5, 2022 | 6:00 - 7: