This is how my chapter 2 of How Jesus Became God starts, in the current draft.


When I first started my teaching career in the mid 1980s I was offered an adjunct position at Rutgers University. My teaching load was three courses a semester. The tenured faculty taught three courses as well, and were, of course, considered full time. But since I was only an adjunct, my three courses were considered part time. You just have to love university administrations: since I was part time, they did not have to provide a decent salary or benefits. To make ends meet, I worked other jobs, including one at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.

There was a long-term project under way there called the Princeton Epigraphy Project. It involved collecting, cataloguing, and entering onto a computer data base all of the inscriptions (writings carved on stone) in major urban centers throughout the ancient Mediterranean. These then were eventually published in separate volumes for each location. I was the research grunt for the person in charge, who, unlike me, was a highly trained classicist who could read inscriptions like the newspaper. I had the job of doing all the dirty work of entering and editing the inscriptions. One of the localities that I had responsibility for was the ancient city of Priene, on the west coast of Turkey. I had never even heard of Priene before that, but I collected and catalogued all the inscriptions that had ever been found and previously published from there.

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