Interview: Lydia Lee

Headshot, Lydia LeeDr. Lydia Lee is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Research Focus Area: Ancient Texts: Text, Context and Reception, North-West University in South Africa. She earned her B.A. (Hons) in Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew at the University of Sydney and Ph.D. in Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Georg-August-Universität Gottingen. She can also be found at her blog.

How did you become a biblical scholar? Share your autobiographical journey.

Born in a Presbyterian ministerial family in Malaysia, I grew up watching my parents serving in various Christian churches. When my father received an appointment to pastor a Chinese Christian church in Sydney, my whole family followed him and immigrated to Australia. This kind of family background exposed me to the biblical literature and its impacts at a very young age. Fascinating to me was how biblical texts could empower many believers to display an incredulous amount of patience, kindness, and sacrificial love. Meanwhile, I was intrigued by the strife, deceits, and molestation committed by church members in the name of God’s word. Sidling through these moments of light and darkness prompted me to reflect on the meaning of life and to yearn for more knowledge of God.

Upon my graduation from the senior high school, I decided to dedicate myself to the biblical studies at the University of Sydney. At that time, I received the award of Dux of the School and my academic performance was good enough to get me into any course of study at the university. I can still remember the look of sheer puzzlement on the face of my senior high school teacher when I informed him the subjects I was going to study at the university. My learning of the biblical texts was not without difficulties but my teachers at the University of Sydney nurtured my deep interests in the Semitic languages, offered me plenty of encouragements, and laid the academic groundwork for me to pursue further studies in Israel and Germany. Before I accepted the postdoctoral position at the North-West University in South Africa in 2016, I had realized my deep passion for biblical studies and had made up my mind that I would strive to be involved in the academic field for as long as possible.  Continue reading

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Interview: Carmen Imes

Dr. Carmen Imes is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Prairie College in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada. She earned a BA from Multnomah University, MA from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and PhD from Wheaton College. She blogs at

Carmen - headshot - 2016How did you decide to become a biblical scholar? Share your autobiographical journey.

I have always loved reading the Bible. I remember taking my Bible out on the playground in 2nd grade and trying to get a group of kids to read through it with me. In college I discovered a love for teaching. It was natural to combine these two interests. At one point before I started grad school I wrestled with whether to go into Christian counseling or Biblical Studies—I either wanted to be a counselor who was thoroughly grounded in the Scriptures or a professor who was able to counsel students informally. In the end I saw a greater need for women in biblical studies. There were already many women counselors.   Continue reading

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Old Testament Class with Christine Hayes

A Yale University Intro to OT course with Dr. Christine Hayes is available to the public on YouTube. See the first class below. For all lectures click here.


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Interview: Jill Firth

Dr. Jill Firth is on faculty at Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia, where she lectures in Hebrew and Old Testament. She earned her BA from the University of Western Australia, MA in Spiritual Direction from the Melbourne College of Divinity, and MDiv and PhD from the Australian College of Theology. She is also a Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne. She can be contacted at

How did you decide to become a biblical scholar? Share your autobiographical journey.

When I finished secondary school, I enquired about studying theology, but I was advised to get some life experience first. After I finished university, my pastor husband was posted to a rural community, so I plunged into parish ministry and then child raising. I planned to return to study when my youngest child was school age, but we went to work in a remote Australian indigenous community and then in Hong Kong. Returning to Australia, I finally enrolled in an MDiv and also began an MA in spiritual direction, while also training for Anglican ordination. A nudge from God drew me to focus on the PhD, which built on an MDiv essay on Book V of the Psalter. Tutoring and adjunct lecturing in earlier years have developed into appointment as a lecturer on faculty.  Continue reading

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Interview: Wil Gafney

Will Gafney photographed in Fort Worth, Texas on March 27, 2015. (Photo by/Sharon Ellman)

Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Brite Divinity School.  She earned her BA from Earlham, MDiv from Howard University School of Divinity, Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from Duke University, and PhD in Hebrew Bible from Duke University. Dr. Gafney is an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. She can be found at her website and on twitter @WilGafney.

How did you decide to become a biblical scholar? Share your autobiographical journey.

I started my professional career as a research biologist after having intended to go to medical school. However in college I was captivated by research and decided to pursue that. A renewal of faith in the A. M. E. Zion Church led me to the scriptures for religious reasons and I found myself particularly drawn to the Hebrew Scriptures. I knew on my first day of seminary I wanted to pursue a Ph.D. In my Spiritual Formation class with Kelly Brown Douglas we read Howard Thurman’s Jesus and the Disinherited. His concept of the “religion of Jesus” resonated deeply with me. I immediately understood that the Hebrew Scriptures were the wellspring of the religion of Jesus. I was also enthralled by my introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures with the late Gene Rice, also from the first day—the class started with the Enuma Elish. Meanwhile in my religious life I had begun comparing translations of the bible and using lexical tools to engage the underlying Hebrew. I even taught myself the aleph-bet. When I took Hebrew with Dr. Rice, I was hooked.

Tell us about your work (past and current). What are you most excited about right now? What do you hope your work will contribute?

In seminary I encountered women who couldn’t be ordained by their churches and was perplexed. I was a member of the AME Zion Church that had ordained Julia Foote a Deacon in 1894 and an Elder in 1900, and in between ordained Mary Small Deacon (1895) and Elder (1898). I also knew that there were women prophets in the bible whom God had called to preach and did not understand why the matter was not settled for everyone else. When Dr. Rice introduced me to the prophet Huldah I was enthralled. I wrote on her for class, for the first paper I presented (at the Regional Society of Biblical Literature), for my entrance essay, and she and her sisters became the subjects of my dissertation and first book, Daughters of Miriam: Women Prophets in Ancient Israel. Continue reading

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Interview: Susan Wendel

SWendellDr. Susan Wendel is Associate Professor of New Testament at Briercrest College and Seminary. She earned a BEd from the University of Regina, MA from Briercrest College and Seminary, and a PhD from McMaster University.

How did you decide to become a biblical scholar? Share your autobiographical journey.

With the aim of becoming better equipped to serve the church, my husband and I left our established careers to attend seminary. When we entered seminary, I assumed that my husband would become a pastor and I would work alongside him as a pastor’s wife. After only a short time of studying, however, my husband began to note how I thrived in a setting where the bible was studied at the academic level. As I continued to study, and as my husband continued to encourage me, my love for the discipline grew. For the first time in my life, I felt as if I could use my intellectual abilities to serve the church effectively. After seminary, I entered a doctoral program and now teach New Testament at the same seminary where I first learned to study the biblical text.

Tell us about your work (past and current). What are you most excited about right now? What do you hope your work will contribute?

My publications thus far have circled around the question of how interpretation of the Jewish scriptures shaped the identity of early Christ-believers. My work in this area includes a monograph entitled, Scriptural Interpretation and Community Self-Definition in Luke-Acts and the Writings of Justin Martyr (NovTSup 139; Leiden: Brill, 2011). More recently, I co-edited the volume Torah Ethics and Early Christian Identity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016). Besides composing other articles on this topic, I am currently working on a chapter for a volume in a series for Bloomsbury/T&T Clark on the reception of Paul in early Christianity. In one way or another, all of these research projects shed light on how the Jewish scriptures helped to frame the worldview, practices, and identity of early Christ-believers.    Continue reading

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Lynn Cohick on Philippians

Dr. Lynn Cohick discusses her commentary on Philippians. Cohick is Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College.

See also her lecture below entitled “‘We are the Circumcision’: Philippians 3 and the Christian Life”

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Interview: Laura J. Hunt

Dr. Laura J. Hunt is adjunct professor at Ashland Theological Seminary and Spring Arbor University. She also does copy editing work. Dr. Hunt earned her B.R.E and M.T.S. from Michigan Theological Seminary and her Ph.D. from University of Wales Trinity Saint David. She is an Elder in the Free Methodist Church. Dr. Hunt can be found online at her website,, and twitter handle, @lauraj222.

How did you decide to become a biblical scholar? Share your autobiographical journey.

I would probably never have gotten my PhD in New Testament if one of several doors had been opened to me earlier. Once I finished my undergraduate degree in Religious Education, and then while I was working on my Masters of Theological Studies, I wanted to contribute in the church, but those doors were shut. Then I worked for a time in a seminary library, and there was talk of putting me in charge there, but then that door closed. So each time I just went back to school and got another degree. So it’s definitely one of those Joseph kinds of things (Gen 50:20), and I am grateful for the way God redeemed the journey.

Tell us about your work (past and current). What are you most excited about right now? What do you hope your work will contribute?

I am currently working on two projects. First, I am editing my dissertation for publication, “Jesus Caesar: A Roman Reading of John 18:28—19:22.” I looked at John 18:28—19:22 from the perspective of the Latin language, using Umberto Eco’s semiotics. While Latin was never extensively spoken in the East, the presence of Romans there did position Latin as the language of power, and the Greek text shows evidence of that contact. Roman understandings and expectations are also addressed in that passage, especially loyalties and law. I am both excited and nervous about seeing how my work fares within the wider academy. Continue reading

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Karen Jobes Discusses her Commentary on 1, 2, & 3 John

Dr. Karen H. Jobes was Gerald F. Hawthorne Professor of New Testament and Exegesis at Wheaton College and Graduate School from 2005-2015. Prior to that she taught at Westminster Theological Seminary .Among other publications, she is the author of a commentary on 1, 2, & 3 John.

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Interview: Nyasha Junior

Junior headshotDr. Nyasha Junior is Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. She earned her B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, M.P.A. from Princeton University, M.Div. from Pacific School of Religion, and Ph.D. in Old Testament from Princeton Theological Seminary. Formerly a professor at Howard University, she is now Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible at Temple University. Dr. Junior can also be found on her website, blog No Extra Credit, and Twitter @NyashaJunior.

How did you decide to become a biblical scholar? Share your autobiographical journey.

My grandmother died, I had a quarter life crisis, and I wasn’t enjoying my job in public policy. So I decided to make a switch and become an early second career person. I grew up in a very religious family, and the stories of the Bible were fascinating to me. Since I was going to start over, I wanted to find something that I was really interested in studying. When I started the M.Div. I wasn’t entirely sure what it was or what I wanted to do with it. I didn’t think that I had the temperament to be a pastor. My first class at Pacific School of Religion was Introduction to Old Testament with Jeffrey Kuan, and I was hooked immediately. I asked him to be my advisor. He shepherded me through my M.Div. and the process of applying for doctoral programs in biblical studies. He continues to serve as one of my mentors. I decided to start the Ph.D. based on my interest in biblical studies even though I didn’t fully understand what the life of an academic was. But now I am grateful I can make a living doing what I do. Continue reading

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