I am currently assistant professor of religious studies at Presentation College in Aberdeen, SD.
I earned my Ph.D. in biblical studies at Baylor University with an emphasis on Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Prior to that, I received my BA in religion from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD and my MTS from Duke Divinity School in Durham, NC. I was born in Mitchell, SD, home of the ‘world famous’ Corn Palace (google it). My parents own the only pet store in Mitchell and have for the last 40+ years. I am married to my wonderful wife Taryn, and we have a 9 year old son and twins–a boy and girl, who joined us in August 2013. My hobbies, therefore, tend to include not sleeping much at all, and when I am awake watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Blue’s Clues, or listening non-stop to all things Pokemon. Hard gig, eh?
My academic interests include the book of Genesis, specifically the texts of deception in the Jacob cycle; Old Testament Theology; Psalms; theodicy; troubling portraits of God in the Bible. On the New Testament side of things, I am interested in historical Jesus study; Gospel of Matthew; ancient and modern Jewish history and philosophy; and anything pertaining to the study and origins of Judaism. I chair the Genesis program unit at the Society of Biblical Literature. For more on my scholarly history, interests, and pursuits, see my curriculum vitae.
My book, Jacob and the Divine Trickster: A Theology of Deception and YHWH’s Fidelity to the Ancestral Promise in the Jacob Cycle, can be purchased from Eisenbrauns HERE! I am currently working on writing my second book, under contract with Eerdmans, and tentatively titled An Untamable God: Reading the Old Testament’s Troubling Texts Theologically. I have two other books–a co-authored volume on the Holocaust and religious questions it poses, and an edited volume on Genesis–on the docket and under contract as well.
20 little known facts about me, and some favorites.
20 MORE little known facts about me.
10 honest things about me.
10 MORE honest things about me.
My interview at Biblioblogs.
21 thoughts on “About”
John, I’ve been reading your comment around the internet for weeks now and I’ve even had you on my blogroll and yet, for some reason, I have not been subscribed to your RSS feed until today!
No clue what’s going on with that. And that failure has been amended.
I am an M.Div. student at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary working with Dr. John Ahn. I recently found your blog searching for John Huehngergard’s CV. I’ve had a chance to meet with him a couple of times regarding doing a Ph.D. at UT-Austin and plan on doing an internship with him there next year. If there is anything you would like to know regarding his work in general or on the revised BDB in particular, please let me know. I am at the point of desiring to form some connections with those the next step ahead of me — Ph.D. candidates.
Hey John. I have been following your blog for a while now…in no small part because I seem to be following in your footsteps. I am applying this fall for the MTS at Duke in order to study Old Testament and hermeneutics under Drs. Chapman and Portier-Young. By virtue of these faculty, Duke is by far my top pick for grad school. I wondered if you could comment on what I should do to ensure acceptance: tips on recommendations, writing sample, purpose statement, etc.
I was just accepted into Duke for their MTS program and I was hoping to ask a few questions… would you mind if I sent you an email? (I couldn’t find your email though on this blog)
Just discovered your blog today. This is great! Thank you for sharing with us hoi polloi!
I just came across a note somewhere saying you had written a review for RBL of Eric Seibert’s new book. That review isn’t yet posted. Would you be willing to send me a copy by email? I’m interested in your critique of it, since I am presenting a response at a gathering next weekend in Atlanta. If this message doesn’t get you my email, it’s gmatties at cmu.ca
Mr. John, I came to your blog during search a review book of Norman K. Gottwald. I will put your link on my blog. Thank you for the long review book you made.
with thankful and respect,
I was just accepted into Baylor’s Ph.D. program (HB/OT). Would you mind sharing your email address? I’d like to get your thoughts on the program and your time there.
@Curt: I sent you an email a few weeks back . . . did you not get it?
What does it mean to study the “texts of deception in the Jacob cycle”? I know that Jacob deceived Isaac and how he did it, but what does it mean to make such an incident (and others like it) a focus of study?
Thanks for your question. I would answer in several ways. First, I would not limit this to an isolated incident. I am interested in the texts (plural) of deception in the Jacob cycle. That means Jacob/Rebekah deceiving Isaac, but also Rebekah subsequently deceiving Isaac, and Laban deceiving Jacob, and Jacob deceiving Laban, and God deceiving Laban, etc. In short, I’m looking at the phenomenon of deception in these texts as asking what it says about God. Or, put another way, the fact that Jacob is both an unabashed trickster and Gods chosen (indeed, Israel’s namesake) . . . how is one to hold this tension together?
Second, while I don’t know your particular view on these texts, in making it an area of scholarly inquiry and publication I am obviously of the opinion that there has been something in these texts that people miss, that people do not understand properly.
I would invite you to check out my Perspectives article (see the CV tab), or to check out my forthcoming book with Eisenbrauns, both on the topic.
Don’t be a stranger!
Dr. Anderson, I checked out your CV tab but could not find a “Perspectives article” there. I am very intrigued by your focus area. Could you point me to the article or other summary of your focus? If not, could you just give me a paragraph on what deception has to do with the character of God? Thanks.
You have to click the “Curriculum Vitae” link to get the bibliographic information. But here it is: “Jacob, Laban, and a Divine Trickster? The Covenantal Framework of God’s Deception in the Theology of the Jacob Cycle,” Perspectives in Religious Studies 36 (2009): 3-23.
I have talked, in a cursory way, on this blog about the matter . . . check out this post, for instance: https://hesedweemet.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/the-divine-trickster-filling-a-scholarly-gap/
I had clicked through to the CV but I do not have access to the “Perspectives” publication so I am grateful for the post link you gave me. I read it, but I am still curious about your thesis as I now know more what it is not than what it is. I will do some searches on your site and perhaps find more explanation.
In the meantime, do you see any relevance of your theme to the identity disclosure of Jesus. That is, during the days of His flesh, He discouraged any publicizing of His Messianic identity. Only after He was raised from the dead, did He encourage this revelation. There are also references such as Isaiah 45:15 which might seem to have relevance.
John – I just preached a series in my church on the Jacob cycle (and also taught an exegesis course). I wish I had access to your book. Could you please send me a pdf copy of your article from Religious Perspectives? Thanks a lot. Cristian
Hi Dr. John: I have been studying Hebrew for three years on the internet and with several text books. This is not easy for a 77 year old living in northern Vermont. I read somewhere that your book about Jacob also contained the Hebrew text of the parts of Genesis that you are writing about. Is this true. I’ve looked all over but can’t find that comment again. Is this true? Thanks for your comment. Larry
My book does not have the complete Hebrew text of the Jacob cycle, but does, in the manuscript at various places, treat, discuss, and rely upon (and mention) the Hebrew. Hope this is helpful.
Good morning, This morning I stumbled onto your blog. Your research sounds interesting. Your emphasis on Israel’s faith raises a question. Do you start with Israel’s faith and not with revelation? For a number of years I have read on ancient Egyptian idolatry to gain understanding of God’s dealings with Egypt’s idolatry revealed in His written Word. Presently I am working on outlines on the book of Genesis as part of that work. I am 82 years of age and although my breathing does not allow me to preach twice a Sunday any longer I am still active in the church and lead a group of believing men of the church and involve them in this study. I show in my work that the book of Geneisis is old, is from God through Moses and sent through Moses to the enslaved Hebrews in Egypt where they have become tainted with the idolatry of Egypt. Genesis is God’s truth over the lie of Egypt and Canaan as well as the truth of God over modern day idolatry. Care to react and show me what your principled approach to Genesis is? Pastor John VanRietschoten B.D. Canadian Reformed Seminary Hamilton ON 1973. Home: 201-180 South Park Drive R.R.#3 Carman Manitoba Canada R0G 0J0 Thank you in advance for your reply. JVR
My blog has moved to my new web page. My new site is http://claudemariottini.com/. I would appreciate if you would update your blogroll. I am updating my blog roll and have already included your blog on my web page.
P. S. It was nice to attend the Genesis seminar in San Francisco. I enjoyed the papers presented at the conference.
Hi John and Shalom aleichem. I from Mandaluyong City Philippines. I chanced upon your blog and decided to try to connect with. I’ve started to study the Hebrew culture since 2008 but have only learned the Holy Language since 2011. I’m particularly interested in the idioms, the creation story, and the elaborate story of the patriarchs from Abraham in Ur to Joseph in Egypt. I am stuck right now on the irony of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel. How in the purest state of time and innocense had deception and pain had crept. I pray that a Biblical Hebrew school would be established here in our city very soon. Hope to meet and learn from you soon.
Baruck Haba B’Shem YHWH!
I am compiling internet research on the Hebrew word Hesed and was directed to your blog, but don’t see a way to search your various posts. Will you please direct me.