Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity
Chair of the Department of Religion at Rice University
Since the making of history lies at the intersection of memory and experience, culture and cognition, society and the individual, I approach ancient religions texts as products of a person's brain as well as a person's community. I am at the forefront of this unique historical perspective, one that I call Cognitive Historicism.
My research and teaching is devoted to engaging the silenced voices of religious people and communities that were left behind or discarded when Christianity emerged in the first four centuries as a new religion. I study those who suffered oppression and intolerance, who were marginalized, forbidden and forgotten. I explore everything from women's issues in biblical and apocryphal texts to shamanic practices in Nag Hammadi literature. To reach a broader public, I write regularly on my blog, The Forbidden Gospels.
I wish to give voice to the resonances and echoes of their unique forms of spirituality and religious experiences, which still have much to teach us about ourselves and our history. I wish to bring their stories back to life, with the hope that this time we will respect, remember and even learn from them. Why? Because our past reflects us, not only where we have been, but who we are and who we will become.