This book has emerged slowly, shaped by conversations with students, col-
leagues, and friends. I cannot name every person who shaped the project,
but naming those who commented on it most directly I acknowledge my
debt to many others.
Among the students who affected this pro ject most directly are Nicholas
Dials and Eleanor Craig, who assisted me diligently in the research, and Cassie
Houtz, who also read the manuscript and offered helpful comments. With-
out the competent research assistance and relentless challenges of Andrea
Quiñones- Rivera, I would not have dared to devote so many hours to reading
through and discussing scientific lit erature. I am grateful for all I learned and
aware that the subtlety of her analyses often escaped me. Mónica Quiñones-
Rivera helped me think about the significance of metamorphoses, offering
insights into classical texts and helping with Latin and Greek translations.
The research for this pro ject was supported in part by a Lilly Faculty Fel-
lowship during the academic year 2011–2012. I am also grateful to Harvard
Divinity School and its faculty for their support. My colleagues Mark Jor-
dan, Jonathan L. Walton, and Laura Nasrallah read parts of the manuscript
and offered invaluable comments. Laurel Schneider, Dennis Buell, Ellen
Armour, Michael Nausner, Shelly Rambo, Catherine Keller, Inese Radzins,
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