In my teaching and research, I combine the historical study of religion with insights from the natural sciences, including cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary theory, and computer modeling. I lecture and supervise theses in the cognitive science of religion, early Christianity, and the religious history of the ancient Mediterranean world, which often brings to my courses students from various programs. One of my passions is to introduce scientific approaches into historical research. The big question I would like to answer is whether religion has increased human wellbeing in history.
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Cognitive Science of Religion, Early Christianity, Digital Humanities
Cognitive Science and the New Testament: A New Approach to Early Christian Research. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.
The Grotesque Body in Early Christian Literature: Hell, Scatology and Metamorphosis. London and New York: Routledge, 2014.
Commission Narratives: A Comparative Study of the Canonical and Apocryphal Acts. Leuven: Peeters, 2007.
"Religious Experience in Mediterranean Antiquity," in A. W. Geertz et al. (eds), Studying the Religious Mind: Methodology in the Cognitive Science of Religion, Advances in the Cognitive Science of Religion, London: Equinox, 2022, pp. 167-176.
"Tours of heaven in light of the neuroscientific study of religious experience," in A. W. Geertz et al. (eds), Studying the Religious Mind: Methodology in the Cognitive Science of Religion, Advances in the Cognitive Science of Religion, London: Equinox, 2022, 197-216.
"Creencias, Rituales y Memoria. Una introducción a la Ciencia Cognitiva de la Religión" (With I. Apud: Beliefs, Rituals and Memory: An Introduction to the Cognitive Science of Religion), Psicología, Conocimiento y Sociedad 9(1), 229-257.
"Evolutionary theory on the move: New perspectives on evolution in the cognitive science of religion," Unisinos Journal of Philosophy 19(3), 2018, pp. 263-271.
"Visionary Practices in the Fourth Book of Ezra," in J.N. Bremmer, V. Hirschberger, and T. Nicklas (eds), Figures of Ezra, Leuven: Peeters, 2018, pp. 51-78.
"Armaments and Ornaments: Mate-Guarding and the Origins of Religion," Religion, Brain & Behavior, 2018, doi:10.1080/2153599X.2018.1498014.
"Cognition, Culture, and Religion: Surveying the Field," in N. Clements (ed), Religion: Mental Religion, Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbook of Religion, Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2017, pp. 197-217.
"Die unbeholfenen Zauberlehrlinge in Ephesus (Die Söhne des Skevas): Apg. 19.11-17" (The Sorcerer’s Clumsy Apprentices; The Sons of Sceva; Acts 19:11-17) in R. Zimmermann et al. (eds), Kompendium der frühchristlichen Wundererzählungen. Band 2: Die Wunder der Apostel, Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2017, pp. 257-267.
"'Unser Sohn ist Magier geworden!' (Wunderbare Brandlöschung in Philippi): ActAndr(Greg) 12" (Our Son has Become a Magician!: Miraculous Extinguishing of Fire, Acts of Andrew 12), in R. Zimmermann et al. (eds), Kompendium der frühchristlichen Wundererzählungen. Band 2: Die Wunder der Apostel, Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2017, pp. 801-806.
"Cultural Evolution and Biblical Studies," in C. Gianotto and F. Sbardella (eds), Traiettorie antropologiche e storiche. Un omaggio ad Adriana Destro, Brescia: Morcelliana, 2017, pp. 239-255.
"Religious Experience Behind the Account of Isaiah’s Ascent to Heaven: Insights from Cognitive Science," in J.N. Bremmer, T.R. Karmann and T. Nicklas (eds), The Ascension of Isaiah, Leuven: Peeters, 2016, pp. 235-257.
"From Mirror Neurons to Morality: Cognitive and Evolutionary Foundations of Early Christian Ethics," in U. Volp, F.W. Horn, and R. Zimmermann (eds), Metapher – Narratio – Mimesis – Doxologie: Begründungsformen im frühchristlicher und antiker Ethik, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016, pp. 271-287.
"Network Analysis of Biblical Texts," Journal of Cognitive Historiography 3, 2016, pp. 43-67.
"Tours of heaven in light of the neuroscientific study of religious experience," Journal of Cognitive Historiography 2, 2015, pp. 34-54.
"How Can Evolutionary Theory Contritute to Biblical Studies?," in D.J. Chalcraft, R. Watson and F. Uhlenbruch (eds), New Directions in Biblical Studies: Social Scientific and Cultural Approaches, Sheffield: Phoenix Press, 2014, pp. 16-38.
"How to Read Miracle Stories with Cognitive Theory: On Harry Potter, Magic, and Miracle," in R. Zimmermann and B. Kollmann (eds), Hermeneutik der frühchristlichen Wundererzählungen, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014, pp. 391-404.
"Jesus' Religious Experience in the Gospels: Toward a Cognitive Neuroscience Approach," in P. von Gemünden, D. G. Horrell and M. Küchler (eds), Jesus. Rezeptionen des Galiläers in Wissenschaft, Kirche und Gesellschaft. FS Gerd Theissen, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013, pp. 553-580.
"The Evolutionary Dynamics of Religious Systems: Laying the Foundations of a Network Model," in A.W. Geertz (ed), Origins of Religion, Cognition and Culture, Durham: Acumen, 2013, pp. 98-120.
Cognitive Science of Religion