My interest in the interaction between religion, language and culture began when I was an undergraduate student at the American University of Beirut. A physics major at the time, Beirut was my first experience outside the United States and my first time being a "foreigner." Making the acquaintance of a couple of archaeologists, I began studying ancient Greek history and soon it became a passion. I became particularly interested in the way Greek culture influenced the Near East after the conquests of Alexander the Great. Related to this is the question of how Judaism and Christianity made their own impact on the Greco-Roman world in the early centuries of our era.
During my doctorate studies at New York University, my interest focused on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Fortunately for me, just as I was finishing my coursework, the decision was made to enlarge the original team of scholars who were editing the Scrolls. In 1991 I was invited to join this renewed endeavor and was assigned certain texts to edit. This work has now appeared in the official publication series Discoveries in the Judean Desert published by Oxford University Press. In addition, I have written a study on the Book of Enoch, one of the most important of the early Jewish apocalyptic works that will shortly appear from E.J. Brill. This work examines the Aramaic manuscripts of Enoch that were found at Qumran and looks at how the work was translated into Greek.
At FIU, I teach classes on the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament, Biblical Archaeology, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the New Testament, Early Christian History, Islam, and World Religions. I also teach language classes on Biblical Hebrew, New Testament Greek, and Classical Arabic.