My work centers on the intersection of gender and religion during Late Antiquity (300-700 CE) as well as earlier, during the era of the first generations of Christ followers. I have taught at Webster University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Traveling and photographing early Christian art has been a key resource for my research, which combines texts and iconography in providing exciting new interpretations of the ancient data, both with respect to the roles of women within early Christianity, and also for how we understand early Christ followers’ conception of Jesus and his teachings. My research has taken me from the ruins of Roman-era churches in Tunisia in northern Africa to the old Thomas churches of Kerala in India, as well as to Croatia, Turkey, Egypt, and historical sites and museums in Europe. One of the most astonishing discoveries I’ve made is that Christians were fascinated with the mother of Jesus; she is a frequent subject of their art. Yet this early Mary was not the silent submissive virgin we often visualize today. She embodied very different gender ideals, such as leadership — ideals that later scribes and artists almost, but not entirely, erased.