David Balch—Projects

Three research projects are fascinating me:

  1. My professional research has centered on clarifying early Christian house churches, how women functioned in leadership roles, how slaves were treated in houses, where and how Christians celebrated the Lord’s Supper together, how believers interacted with current Judaisms and with Greco-Roman culture and society. Recently this research has come to include studying actual Roman houses, including mythological frescoes on their walls and mosaics on their floors, in Rome, Pompeii, and Herculaneum, as a stimulus to understanding and reframing questions. Mohr Siebeck in Tuebingen, Germany, published a collection of my essays on this topic this fall (2008). This summer and fall (2008) I am continuing such studies on a sabbatical leave in Rome and Naples.
  2. Not only Pauline but also Lukan house churches intrigue me: I have published probably a dozen articles on Luke-Acts over the past two decades, the most important of which concerns “Jesus as Founder of the Church in Luke-Acts: Form and Function,” in Contextualizing Acts, eds. Penner and Vander Stichele (2003). After focusing for a decade on houses in Pompeii, learning Italian, and pretending to be an art historian, I want to return to Luke-Acts and to deepen my study of this biographer/historian of early Christianity.
  3. I continue to be interested in ethical questions in relation to sexuality, marriage, and ordination. Earlier I published papers from a conference that originated in a request from Lutheran colleagues: Homosexuality, Science, and the “Plain Sense” of Scripture (2000), which will be republished by K. C. Hanson, editor of Wipf and Stock (2007). I seek other ways of continuing to be involved in these discussions.