He joined the Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures at The Catholic University of America in the fall of 2014 as an assistant professor. His research is focused on the languages, literatures, and history of Christianity in the Near East, especially Syriac as well as Arabic and Ethiopic. He has wide-ranging interests in ancient Christianity, spanning across a vast time period (from the New Testament to the early Islamic period), traversing an extensive geographic expanse (from Rome to Mesopotamia and beyond), and crossing diverse languages (including Greek, Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, and Coptic). At CUA, he serves on the Executive Committee for the Center for the Study of Early Christianity and is director of the Institute of Christian Oriental Research. Dr. Butts serves on a number of editorial boards, including Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies and Journal of Semitic Studies, and he is co-editor of Aramaic Studies, as well as its Supplements series.
Dr. Butts is on research leave for academic year 2020-2021 at the Hiob Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian Studies in Hamburg, Germany, supported by a Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers.