Brent Landau comes to the OU Religious Studies faculty from Harvard University, where he received a Doctor of Theology degree in 2008 in the study of the New Testament and Early Christianity. Hired by OU in the field of Christian Studies, Brent’s research focus is on early Christian traditions about the birth and childhood of Jesus, with a special interest in the Magi, better known as the “three wise men.” His forthcoming first book is a translation of the Revelation of the Magi, an ancient Christian text purporting to be the Magi’s own account of Christ’s coming, and will be published by HarperCollins in the fall of 2010.
Most of my teaching has to do with the New Testament and other early Christian writings, a fact that presents distinct challenges for both me and my students. For some students, one challenge may be too much family familiarity with the New Testament, so much so that they might not initially realize the diversity and downright "strangeness" of these ancient texts. For me, a key challenge is boiling down the enormous field of New Testament scholarship to the texts, ideas, and problems that I believe are absolutely essential for a responsible knowledge of the New Testament and its original historical context. A new (and exciting!) challenge for me at OU will be designing courses that build on my expertise in this subject but go much further in their scope; for example, I hope soon to introduce courses on the evolution of the Christmas holiday and the history of Christian missionary activity--both of which span at least twenty centuries!