When I was in college, with majors in history and Russian studies, I almost decided to become a professor. But upon the advice of my history professor(!) I decided to become an international lawyer, and to follow my passions for history, myth, religion, philosophy, and other fascinating subjects in my free time.
I had the privilege of doing rewarding international law work for 30 years at the world’s largest global law firm at the time, Baker & McKenzie, which enabled me to travel the world and experience its peoples and cultures, not just as objects of study but also at a practical working and personal level with colleagues, clients, lasting friends, and others. I ended up being able to combine law and my Russian studies background by working in Russia for over 8 years in Moscow and St. Petersburg, beginning when the Soviet Union was collapsing, and helped that new country’s legal system develop. This Russian experience, together with the fact that my wife Elena hails from St. Petersburg, enabled me to combine my professional work with my passion for writing history, and the result was authoring, together with Elena, what is now regarded as the definitive English-language history of one of the world’s most mythical cities, St. Petersburg, Russia. It won a literary prize in Russia in 2005 (the Antsiferov Prize), awarded by a jury of Russian academics. I later contributed a chapter to another history book about St. Petersburg, focusing on important historical events there in the 1990s.
All that time I was also pursuing my interests in ancient cultural history – especially that of the ancient Near East and Mediterranean – as well as mythology, religion, philosophy, and depth psychology. Serious study meant learning the relevant ancient languages, so I learned ancient Egyptian (hieroglyphs), biblical Hebrew, and ancient Greek (both Attic and biblical Greek), in addition to the fluent Russian and not-so-good French that I already knew. My first book resulting from this study is a “big” one written with Elena about the foundational and most influential myth in our Western culture, the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. We analyze the story from the perspective of mythological studies, so we call it The Mythology of Eden. It too recently received a book award, winning first place in the Religion-General Category at the 2015 International Book Awards, and being named Award-Winning Finalist in the 2014 USA Best Book Awards (also Religion-General Category).
In addition to writing books and articles, I also enjoy giving lectures at scholarly conferences as well as informal talks to other groups that share my interests. Recent and upcoming appearances can be viewed by clicking the Appearances button on the toolbar above. I am active at the scholarly community website academia.edu, where I have posted some of my work.
I am passionate about deepening my and my audience’s understanding of the interrelationship between cultural history, mythology, religion, and depth psychology in a way that will enrich and benefit our society and our own personal knowledge and spirituality. This blog provides one means for me to communicate and contribute on these topics, write about mythic travel, and post book reviews about books on these subjects. I look forward to interacting with interested readers who have questions and comments.
When I’m not pursuing such interesting things (or when I can combine them with something else), I like to enjoy downhill skiing, running, dancing, films, world travel, cooking, farming my backyard vineyard, making and enjoying wine, and enjoying our 2 cats.