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

Dr. Karen H. Jobe 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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19th Century Female Biblical Interpreters

The following is a guest post from Amanda MacInnis-Hackney who is a Ph.D. student at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto. The post originally appeared on her blog. You can also find her on twitter @CWtheology.

19thcentury

L-R: Lissa Wray Beal (Providence); Rachel Krohn (Wycliffe); Marion Taylor (editor of the volume; Wycliffe); Christiana de Groot (editor of the volume; Calvin).

One of the highlight’s of this year’s CETA (Canadian Evangelical Theological Association) conference was the panel discussion on the newly released Women of War, Women of Woe: Joshua and Judges through the Eyes of Nineteenth-Century Female Biblical Interpreters.

I’m only just now finally reading this superb volume, and I am struck by several things. First, in all of my biblical studies classes, the focus has always been on historical critical interpretation. Citing theological sources, or biblical commentaries that were more than 10 years old was considered bad research. Newer was always better. I think this methodology feeds into the problem I identified in yesterday’s post that the modern age suffers from a self-centred historical amnesia in which we are the enlightened generation and we are the first and only to consider the “obscure” passages of Scripture and we read them, or “recover” them because no one else before us has, supposedly. Continue reading

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Need a Textbook on Biblical Hermeneutics?

If you are teaching an introductory course on biblical hermeneutics or need a resource for a class that touches on the subject matter, you might consider Jeannine K. Brown’s book Scripture as Communication: Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics. Brown provides a clearly written and accessible discussion that takes students through complex theories, while presenting her own perspective on Scriptural interpretation. Brown proposes a model for treating exegesis as communication, stating that “interpersonal categories are truer to an understanding of the Bible as Scripture and more useful than models that primarily emphasize the text as code” (p. 15). While not taking a simplistic understanding of authorial intention, she does stress the importance of not treating the text as purely autonomous as though no communication was being attempted by the writer.

JbrownScriptureThe book has twelve chapters divided into two main sections: “Theoretical Perspectives on Scripture as Communication” and “Practical Guidance for Interpreting Scripture as Communication.” The first section covers terminology and summarizes various theoretical models already circulating such as speech-act theory, relevance theory, and literary theory. She discusses various perspectives on authorial intention, the relationship between text and reader, and how we define “meaning.” Brown also provides a short overview of two hundred years on hermeneutics, starting with Friedrich Schleiermacher.

In the second section, Brown discusses practical matters of interpretation such as attending to genre (especially poetry, epistle, and narrative). The choice of genre is intentional on the part of the author as a way to communicate. For example, poets tend to use sounds and images to make a point. In other chapters, she also discusses the languages of Scripture and how language works as communication, along with the social world of the Bible, literary context, and canon. Finally, Brown addresses how we might recontextualize Scripture so that its sacred message shapes us in the here and now.

Thanks to BakerAcademic for providing a complimentary copy of this book upon request.

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A (Not Entirely) Foolproof Guide to Getting Published for Academics: Part II

In this post Katya Covrett continues her discussion on how to become a published author. Be sure to check out Part I as well. Covrett (MTS, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary) is Executive Editor at Zondervan Academic.

Find an editor

An acquisitions editor (also called acquiring or commissioning editor) is the one who seeks out authors and books for a publisher. Some academic acquisitions editors have a focus in a particular discipline, like theology or the Old Testament or biblical studies in general, or in a particular category, such as textbooks or reference books; others are generalists and acquire broadly across the publisher’s spectrum. Continue reading

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A (Not Entirely) Foolproof Guide to Getting Published for Academics: Part I

In a previous post Katya Covrett discussed the shortage of published works by female authors in biblical and theological studies. In this post she offers professional tips on how to get published. Covrett (MTS, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary) is Executive Editor at Zondervan Academic.

While there is no truly foolproof way to get published, with proper homework and preparation, one may greatly increase their chances. In the next two posts I will go over the basic steps of academic publishing with comments on each and a few “Pro Tips” along the way. At this point I am assuming several things: 1) you are a scholar seeking to publish academically; 2) you already have a desire and motivation to publish; 3) you have a book idea or at least an area of interest for publishing.[1]

I am grateful to my colleagues Nancy Erickson (Zondervan Academic), Stan Gundry (Zondervan Academic), Jim Kinney (Baker Academic), Robin Parry (Wipf and Stock), and Dan Reid (IVP Academic) for reviewing these posts and offering their critical and constructive feedback.

Put together a proposal

Most publishers make their publishing decisions based on a book proposal; most book proposals contain similar information. Here I will outline key elements of a book proposal. Continue reading

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What I Learned about Gender (and Diversity) from Christian Academic Publishing

This post by Katya Covrett originally appeared on A Pilgrim in Narnia blog in December 2015 in response to the blogger’s critique of the Zondervan Academic catalog.

katya 2 low res I am a woman. I am the wife of one and the mother of two, a teen and a tween, so life is full. I am an editor at a Christian publishing house—and an academic editor at that. Nerd that I am, I am more prone to cuddle up with a heavy exposition of Romans or the latest and greatest work of theology—with a red pen to boot—than with a bestselling Amish romance novel. As if I did not already have enough in my life, I am exploring a doctoral program on another continent. I am Russian—not just by birth but by upbringing. As such, I did not grow up in what the popular opinion regards as the “civilized West,” and so, to an extent, I represent a degree of ethnic diversity and can still fake a pretty heavy Russian accent when necessary (and, yes, I have a large cat to go with it).

I came to the United States in the late ‘90s to study in seminary and, undoubtedly, to change the world. A minority among the few counseling-major women in my class, I enrolled in a decidedly academic track, majoring in systematic theology and the New Testament (yes, it is possible). Mere months after graduation I entered the world of Christian publishing as an editorial assistant in Zondervan’s church, reference, and academic division. Within a couple of years I was acquiring academic books. Continue reading

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Interview: Cyndi Parker

Temple Mount (Dome of the Rock) from Mount of Olives (Cyndi Parker)Dr. Cyndi Parker teaches 3-week intensive courses in Israel at Jerusalem University College, as well as by invitation to various churches and institutions. She holds a BA in French and Business Studies from Butler University, MA in Old Testament and MA in Religion from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Ph.D. in Theological and Religious Studies from the University of Gloucestershire.

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

I became a biblical scholar a little reluctantly. I know that sounds weird, but growing up, I felt like I had been badly wounded by people in the Church who demeaned intelligent and self-motivated females. When I went to college, my professors talked about the silliness of believing in religion, and since I wanted to be brilliant, well spoken, and intelligent, I believed them. I was introduced to feminist ideas, which ultimately helped me put words around some of the deep hurt created by male leadership in church. I walked away from religion, from the church, and from God, and it was only through the patient, consistent pull of God that I eventually returned.

When I considered pursuing a Ph.D. in anthropology, a trusted advisor of mine stepped in and stated that he thought I should consider biblical studies instead. Although I initially resented the suggestion, I quickly realized he was right. My biggest life questions, my biggest anxiety, and yet my biggest source of hope came from theology. I knew I needed to be in biblical studies even if it was only to be the female example in the church that I never had. I pursued graduate work in the Old Testament because I related to the life struggles and the difficult questions posed by people in the Old Testament. Continue reading

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Dr. Stephanie Crowder Discusses Mark 6

The Rev. Dr. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder share her brief thoughts on Mark 6:1-13. Crowder is professor of New Testament Studies at Belmont University.

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Beverly Roberts Gaventa on Faith and Scholarship

The following excerpts are from I (Still) Believe: Leading Bible Scholars Share Their Stories of Faith and Scholarship (2015). Dr. Beverly Roberts Gaventa is Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Baylor University. Her chapter in the book is entitled “A Word of Gratitude.”

Where does the story begin, the story of my vocation as a student and teacher of the Bible? Perhaps it begins when I was nine, when we moved to a house within walking distance of the public library . . . or perhaps it dates from that same year, with the traumatic loss of my beloved maternal grandmother . . . but what stands out in my memory is a class on Paul’s letter to the Romans at Union Theological Seminary in New York during the second semester of 1970-71. I applied for and entered the MDiv program to use it as a platform for making my way into doctoral work in Reformation studies or perhaps theology and literature, but the MDiv required courses in Bible, much to my dismay, as I was sure that my scholarly interests lay elsewhere. To make the best of this requirement, I selected a course on Romans, knowing (however vaguely) its importance for the history of Christian thought. And that was it. Like tee-totaling Liza Hamilton in John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, who is never again entirely sober after her doctor orders a sip of whiskey at bedtime, I never walked away (pp. 83-84).

Continue reading

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