Jill has posed an interesting question in the comment to another post, asking who might be the “big names” in biblical studies in the next 15-20 years. I would like to pose this question to my fellow bibliobloggers, and ask also why that person. Who is the next Brueggemann? Childs? Tov? Crenshaw? Alter? Hays? Etc.
To get the ball rolling, I have a couple initial suggestions (one offered by Jill with which I agree wholeheartedly).
1) David Carr: his Reading the Fractures of Genesis is a monumentally important volume, not simply for its synthesis of synchronic and diachronic approaches (although I would still argue Carr is largely doing genetic work) but also in that it marks a return to a full-length discussion of the biblical book which set what would become the documentary hypothesis in motion, and it shows how far we have come since. While I disagree with much of what I read of Carr (for instance, his article that unity and Isaiah are incompatible), his voice has become a foundational one for how biblical scholarship has thought about some of its important questions. He is still relatively young, and I think his star will only continue to rise.
2) Nancy deClaisse-Walford: her work on Psalms (Reading from the Beginning and A Song From Ancient Israel, as well as a forthcoming new ICC commentary which she is co-writing) has carried the late Gerald Wilson’s theses forward in meaningful ways. Also, her emphasis on reading the final form of the Psalter–the emphasis on the question of the Psalter’s ‘shape’–is an important one and seems to be the direction in which Psalms scholarship is moving. She is also a Baylor Ph.D. and wrote her dissertation under Bill Bellinger, who is supervising my dissertation–hopefully that bodes well for me!
3) Kenton Sparks: perhaps little known, but his God’s Word in Human Words has made a big splash, as has his Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible (which I review here). ATSHB is sure to become a standard reference work in the field. He has also authored an earlier volume on Ethnicity and Identity in Ancient Israel. He is perhaps the ‘dark horse’ of those I list here, but I do think if he continues to produce the quality he has thus far he has a good chance of becoming a big name.
4) Douglas Campbell: on the NT side of things, one of my former teachers at Duke is already getting some deserved attention for his work on Paul (The Quest for Paul’s Gospel and his most recent massive tome–over 1000 pages!–The Deliverance of God published by Eerdmans). While his overall reading of Paul is quite eclectic and to some eccentric, his analysis of the history of Pauline scholarship and the problems with previous conceptions of Paul’s ‘center’ (inasmuch as such a thing exists!) are important. Evidence of his success can be seen in that his Deliverance of God has a session devoted to it at SBL in New Orleans.
Who would you add to this list, and why? Who is the next legitimate ‘big name’ in biblical studies?