The American historian born in Rhode Island, USA retired from her academic career of 20 years at Boston University to become distinguished visiting professor in the Department of Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2009. She specializes in the history of Christianity, focusing on its development from a messianic sect within Second Temple Judaism to its turning into an arm of Late Roman imperial government. She aims to reconstruct the many ways that various ancient Mediterranean peoples – be it pagans, Jews, or Christians – interacted with the numerous social agents (high gods, cosmic forces, stars and planets, godlings, spirits and divine humans) that populated the ancient geo-centric universe. She has served as a historical consultant and featured speaker in many media, including film and TV. Her books include From Jesus to Christ (1988), Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews (1999), Augustine and the Jews (2008) and When Christians Were Jews (2018). In 2013 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.