Academically Rigorous | Biblical and Theological Studies | Judson University Christian College

Academically Rigorous

In Judson’s Department of Biblical and Theological Studies, we are committed to careful, detailed study of primary texts and important scholarship in our fields, and we demonstrate this in multiple ways. Our goal is to help shape students who can interpret biblical texts with critical awareness of the important historical, cultural, and theological issues necessary for the task, and who can engage vital theological, philosophical, and ethical arguments and issues with both discernment and clarity. These skills are important regardless of one’s career path—academic, vocational ministry, or anything else. Our program is demanding, and our recent graduates have been accepted for master’s programs at prominent institutions like Duke Divinity School, University of Edinburgh, and Loyola University Chicago.

Our department recognizes academic excellence among our students though invitations for induction into Theta Alpha Kappa, the national honor society for religious studies and theology. Judson’s chapter was chartered in the 2004-2005 academic year and now includes over thirty inductees.

In addition, we recognize our outstanding graduating students each year with two awards, the Erickson Prize for Excellence in Biblical Studies (established 2005) and the Judson University Award for Excellence in Theological Studies (established 2012). The names of winners of both awards are permanently displayed in a prominent location as a reminder of their excellent achievements.

Also, each year Judson students present papers at the Student Religious Studies Conference, a regional conference for undergraduates through pre-dissertation doctoral students hosted by the Midwest Region Society of Biblical Literature.

Our professors model the academic engagement they expect of their students through participation in professional societies on the local, regional, national, and international levels and through publications ranging from denominational Sunday school curricula and university and seminary-level textbooks to scholarly journal articles, monographs, and essay collections.

 The Narrative Effect of Book IV of the Hebrew Psalter The Narrative Effect of Book IV of the Hebrew Psalter takes seriously the canonical form to the text and suggests that there is a narrative effect that occurs as a reader of the Hebrew Bible encounters the canonical Psalter. Rather than reading the book of Psalms as an anthology, the reader can find lexical and thematic connections within the text that tell a story. The turning point of that story comes in Book IV (Psalms 90-106) when the text emphasizes the kingship of YHWH rather than David and a return to the covenant of Moses. Dr. Robert E. Wallace
 ReadingtheEpistletotheHebrews Reading the Epistle to the Hebrews: A Resource for Students addresses major issues in the interpretation of this important but complex biblical text and provides an introduction to contemporary scholarship on Hebrews. With contributions from an international team of leading scholars on Hebrews and related fields, this volume reflects the most recent trends in the study of Hebrews and is designed for classroom use by students in both undergraduate and graduate programs.  Dr. Eric F. Mason
 YouAreaPriestForever Scholars have long questioned the conceptual background for the priestly Christology of the Epistle to the Hebrews, with suggestions including Gnosticism, the thought of Philo of Alexandria, common themes in early Christian theology and exegesis, and the creativity of the author of Hebrews himself. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls prompted waves of enthusiasm for understanding Hebrews in that context, both in terms of the Qumran sect’s priestly messianism and understanding of Melchizedek, but claims often were excessive and the approach was discredited. The present study reevaluates the priestly Christology of Hebrews and the presentations of the messianic priest and Melchizedek in the Qumran texts, arguing that the latter do indeed provide the closest parallels to Hebrews’ thought.  Dr. Eric F. Mason
 ATeacherforAllGenerations This collection of essays honors James C. VanderKam on the occasion of his sixty-fifth birthday and twentieth year on the faculty of the University of Notre Dame. An international group of scholars—including peers specializing in Second Temple Judaism and Biblical Studies, colleagues past and present, and former students—offers essays that interact in various ways with ideas and themes important in VanderKam's own work. The collection is divided into five sections spanning two volumes. The first volume includes essays on the Hebrew Bible and ancient Near East along with studies on Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Essays in the second volume address topics in early Judaism, Enoch traditions and Jubilees, and the New Testament and early Christianity.  Dr. Eric F. Mason
 TheologyintheServiceoftheChurch This volume celebrates the life and work of Fisher H. Humphreys, a noted Baptist theologian whose teachings and writings have shaped several generations of pastors, missionaries, and theological students. Humphreys has said about his own life’s work: “My theology is church theology. I do thinking about God in the fellowship of the church.” From 1990 until his retirement in 2008, Humphreys taught systematic theology at Beeson Divinity School of Samford University following an even longer tenure on the faculty of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.  Dr. Eric F. Mason
 AnArchitectureofImmanence In this book Mark Torgerson shows how modern architecture has heavily influenced the construction of new sacred spaces, producing a new way of building that emphasizes God's coming near to us. Torgerson begins by discussing God's transcendence and immanence and showing how church architecture has traditionally interpreted these key concepts. He then traces the theological roots of immanence's priority from liberal theology and liturgical innovation to modern architecture. Next, Torgerson illustrates this new architecture of immanence through particular practitioners, focusing especially on the work of theologically savvy architect Edward Anders Sövik. Finally, he addresses the future of church architecture as congregations are buffeted by the twin forces of liturgical change and postmodernism.  Dr. Mark A. Torgerson
 TheHeavenlyGoodofEarthlyWork Given that so much of our contemporary lives are spent working and that so many major decisions and issues in life revolve around our work, it is surprising just how little serious theological reflection there is on the subject. A Theology of Work: Work and the New Creation makes work itself the subject of theological enquiry. From within Christian doctrine it asks the pressing questions 'what is work and work's place in God's economy and thus, how should we be carrying out our work?' Through dialogue with Jürgen Moltmann, Pope John Paul II and others, this book develops a genitive 'theology of work'. It offers a normative theological definition of work and a model for a theological ethics of work that shows work's nature, value and meaning now, and, quite uniquely, eschatologically related to the new creation. Dr. Darrell T. Cosden
Faculty Publications

Judson University, Shaping Lives that Shape the World