Welcome to my UNCC home page! I am an adjunct lecturer with the Department of Religious Studies teaching various courses in Christian origins. My courses have included Introduction to the New Testament (RELS 2105), Early Christianity (RELS 3115), Jesus (RELS 3113), Paul (RELS 3116), New Testament Apocrypha, and Women & Gender in the New Testament World (RELS 2000 and 3000 topics courses). You can choose from the page menu options to the right to read summaries of the courses I teach.
My primary area of interest is, of course, Christian origins, from the first-century lives of Jesus and Paul, to the doctrinal decisions at the Council of Nicea, to the Eastern and Western churches of the Middle Ages. I take no stand in the classroom on issues of personal faith but seek to better understand the history of Christianity. Valid reconstructions of this phenomenon can only result from an objective assessment of our literary and archaeological evidence. I welcome prospective students to join me as we work to uncover cultures and locations long buried beneath dirt and dogma.
When I am not in the classroom, I am busy conducting research in my field. My most recent book on the apostle Paul is based on an innovative approach to understanding “the apostle to the Gentiles” now being pursued by a new generation of scholars. Interpreting Paul within, and not against, his native Judaism untangles many misperceptions and results in a much more consistent image of this pioneer of the Jesus faith than traditional methods of reading him.
The Upper Room and Tomb of David: The History, Art and Archaeology of the Cenacle on Mount Zion is the result of historical and archaeological investigations in the Holy Land. It traces the origin and history of a major religious site deemed sacred by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Some of the results of my research have also appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review and Biblical Archaeology Today. I have presented papers at the annual meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature. Currently, I am working with UNCC archaeologist and historian Shimon Gibson in order to bring to publication the results of additional archaeological work on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.
I hold a B.S. in Business Administration, an MBA, and an M.A. in Religious Studies.
Reviews for Meet Paul Again for the First Time:
“A new paradigm for reading the apostle Paul has recently emerged: Paul addresses only ‘gentiles’ and should be read within, not in opposition to, his native Judaism. Informed by this perspective, Clausen presents a different but still recognizable image of Paul. This liberated Paul’ originates from a consistent reading of Paul’s addressees as gentile, enhanced by clear thinking and uncluttered presentation. Scholars, students, and interested wider readership will welcome this thought-provoking ‘reconstructed Paul.’” William S. Campbell, University of Potsdam (author of Nations in the Divine Economy: Paul’s Covenantal Hermeneutics and Participation in Christ; and Unity and Diversity in Christ: Interpreting Paul in Context)
“In clear, concise, and careful style, Clausen introduces readers to many of the changes taking place in Pauline scholarship, especially among those rereading Paul within Judaism, at the same time advancing many new insights on specific topics and texts. Anyone interested in discovering ways to understand Paul apart from the traditional (and New Perspective) negative characterizations of Jews, Judaism, and Torah observance will without doubt find this a very welcome contribution.” Mark D. Nanos, Lund University (author of Reading Paul within Judaism; The Galatians Debate; Reading Romans within Judaism; Reading Corinthians and Philippians within Judaism; The Mystery of Romans: The Jewish Context of Paul’s Letters; and Paul within Judaism: Restoring the First-Century Context to the Apostle [with Magnus Zetterholm])
Reviews for The Upper Room and Tomb of David:
“While much has been written about Mount Zion…I was not aware of any single book that would make it easier for me to guide my students there that would give an overview of history and archaeology. That is, until I came upon David Christian Clausen’s The Upper Room and Tomb of David…Probably no one today knows more about the history of the Upper Room and Tomb of David than Clausen…I will never visit these two sites or Mount Zion again without this work in hand…” Joshua Schwartz, Bar-Ilan University
“Judicious use of archaeological discoveries and insightful witnesses, beginning with the Bordeaux Pilgrim in 333, through the Muslim conquest to the crusader period, often supported by images and illustrations, enhance this first full length study of the Cenacle…With impressive reflections, Clausen concludes, inter alia, that the tomb of David was in the Lower City but Christians, assuming Jesus and James were Davidids, located David’s tomb in the more impressive New Zion… Since the identification of the Cenacle as the remains of an early synagogue prompts my focus on Clausen’s chart of early synagogues that is extremely relevant for those devoted to Jesus Research… Clausen’s superbly helpful chart should also now include the discovery by Motti Aviam of a Roman period synagogue on Tel Rekhesh a site east of and near to Nazareth… The reflections in the book prompt thought and lay the basis for more excavations and study. I find Clausen’s book well written and full of valuable information.” – James H. Charlesworth, Princeton University
“This is an absorbing volume of 268 pages of detailed information, diagrams, and drawings regarding this historical site on Mount Zion…For the serious student of church history, this volume presents information that is critical to the understanding of this period of religious activity.” – “Book Reviews,” M. G. Paregian, Publisher