For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by religion.

This fascination ultimately led me to the academic study of religion and the pursuit of a Master’s degree in Religious Studies from New York University and a Ph.D. in Religion from Claremont Graduate University.

As a scholar of religion, I am an expert in early Judaism and Christian origins.

As an author, I have published numerous books and over thirty peer-reviewed articles on topics ranging from the emergence of the early Jesus tradition and the Dead Sea Scrolls to the rise of new religious movements and Indigenous Religion in America.

As a documentary filmmaker, I explore the role of religion in contemporary society, culture, and politics.

As a professor of religion at UCLA, I teach a variety of courses including the History of Early Christians, Jesus in Film and History, Religion and Violence, Religion in Los Angeles, and the History of Religion in the United States.

I am also the co-founder of The Mitakuye Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to empowering Native youth (

I occasionally give public talks and lectures about my work. Some of the venues have included the Center for the Study of Religion at UCLA, Cal Lutheran University, the ALOUD series at the Los Angeles Public Library, and Christ Church in Upland, CA. You can read an interview about my book The Nonviolent Messiah over at The Jesus Blog [here and here].