My main research interests are the Dead Sea Scrolls, and I began my doctoral work at King's College London in the Qumran glasnost year 1991 when access to all the unpublished material was granted to the world of scholarship at large. Because of the sheer scale of new material now available, the opening of access to all the unpublished texts had, in practical terms, a huge impact on scholarship, comparable almost to the impact of the initial discoveries. I have published extensively on the Damascus Document, the Community Rule, 4QMMT, and other Qumran texts. Most recently I have been exploring the ways in which the socio-religious milieu that gave us the Scrolls shares much more with the social matrix that gave us the emerging Hebrew Bible than customarily supposed. In 2013-2014 I worked on a project funded by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship entitled: The Development of Complex Literary Traditions in the Second Temple Period.
I enjoy playing an active part in the scholarly guilds of Scrolls researchers and Hebrew Bible scholars as Executive Editor of Dead Sea Discoveries and President for 2016 of the British Association of Jewish Studies. I have been a member of the International Advisory Board of the Theological Dictionary of the Qumran Texts, the steering committee of the Qumran Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Society for Old Testament Study, and the Advisory Board of Henoch. From 2007-2011 I served as Reviews Editor for the Journal of Jewish Studies.
Until 2016 I was the host scientist-in charge for the EU funded Marie Curie Fellowship of Dr. Angela Harkins and co-investigator with Isabel Wollaston on a three year educational project Jewish Heritage and Culture: Birmingham Perspectives which serves as a framework for hosting regular high quality education programmes and public lectures in Jewish Studies.
I was elected to membership of the AHCR Peer Review Council in 2014, since 2016 as a Strategic Reviewer, and regularly peer review research projects both internationally and in the UK. Finally, together with Helen Abbott I am the University’s lead for the AHRC Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership.