Most impressive younger NT scholars

As I met and interacted with folks at SBL, I began to see that as many of the old guard have retired or are soon to be (James Dunn, Howard Marshall, Larry Hurtado, Richard Bauckham, etc…), there is also a crop of impressive younger scholars that are making their marks on NT research.  I offer a list of only some of the most incisive and those who have great potential.  It is difficult to know where to draw the line of “younger”: by years teaching?  How many years?  10?  15?  Instead of a temporal approach, I am looking at people that have demonstrated excellence in their research and great potential, but ones whom you may not have heard about (yet!).

Michael Bird (Bible College of Queensland, Australia) – in a sense Mike is already highly respected as a scholar, but he is definitely young.  He has done so much already in both Paul and Gospels study with a new book out on Jewish conversion activity in antiquity.  He is someone who is innovative, passionate, and competent.  And he has many, many good books ahead of him.  And articles.  And essays.  Maybe a clothing line and personal fragrance.

Todd Still (Baylor/Truett).  Todd did his doctorate under John MG Barclay at Univ. of Glasgow on the Thessalonian epistles.  He has published a number of articles and also a short commentary on Colossians.  He is one of the co-editors of the new volume After the First Urban Christians (with Longenecker and Horrell) which looks at the impact of Wayne Meeks’ original work 25 years later.  He is coming out with an intro to Paul with Zondervan, a commentary on Philippians, an intro guide to 1-2 Thessalonians, and a few other interesting projects.  He is a thoughtful and mature writer, measured in his critique and with an incisive analytical eye.  Whenever I have thought, what journal should I try to publish with next?, I look at what Todd has done and have attempted to retrace his footsteps.

Daniel B. Gurtner (Bethel Seminary, MN).  Dan is a Gospels guy who is a star on the rise.  He studied with Bauckham and published his thesis with Cambridge in their very exclusive and excellent SNTSMS series.  Dan worked swiftly through his PhD at such a rate that he spent his final year at Tyndale House teaching and writing on other topics.  He has also written a critical edition of the Syriac of Second Baruch for Continuum as well as a forthcoming commentary on the LXX text of Exodus.  Did I mention he edited a book on Matthean studies? Or the answer key to a Syriac textbook?  Don’t even get me started on articles…

Susan Eastman (Duke Divinity School)  I read Susan’s thesis and reviewed it.  It was a very impressive piece on Paul’s use of maternal language, an exploration of his apocalyptic theology, and an examination of his interaction with Scriptural concepts.  She has published several insightful articles and is quite regularly leading things and presenting at SBL.

C. Kavin Rowe (Duke Divinity School). Rowe, also quite new to professional academia, has stunned scholars with his breadth, depth, and precociousness.  To be honest, I have not had a chance to read his work, but I hear his name all the time and always in a positive light.  Check out his bio from Duke (the only word coming to mind afterward is “WOW!”):

C. Kavin Rowe is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Duke University Divinity School. In addition to multiple scholarly articles, he is the author of two books: “Early Narrative Christology” (de Gruyter, 2006, repr. Baker Academic, 2009) and “World Upside Down: Reading Acts in the Graeco-Roman Age” (Oxford University Press, 2009). He also co-edited “The Word Leaps the Gap” (Eerdmans, 2008) and a forthcoming book from the University of South Carolina Press on the interpretation of Luke and Acts (2010). Rowe has been a Fulbright Scholar, Regional Scholar for the Society of Biblical Literature, Chair of the Society’s Southeastern Region New Testament section, and was elected to the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas. He was awarded a Lilly Faculty .Fellowship, a Christian Faith and Life Grant from the Louisville Institute, and, most recently, the John Templeton Prize for Theological Promise.

James Crossley (Sheffield).  Crossley has made quite a spash in Christian origins, often questioning longheld views and assumptions.  Though I agree with him on only one or two things (like, there is such a thing as the New Testament), I have to admit that what he does, he does well (especially methodologically).

J. Ross Wagner (Princeton).  In many ways, he is carrying on Richard Hays’ legacy in the study of Paul and Scripture.  His own dissertation on Isaiah and Romans in concert has been very well received and he is working on a general volume on biblical intertexuality.  He is also a very nice guy.

Tom Thatcher (Cincinnati Christian University).  Tom is someone that popped up on the scene of Johannine studies (and Gospels in general).  He has already founded and chaired two program units, and has published or edited numerous books and articles (ATLA has about 30 items under his name, most of which are from 2000-2007).

Edward Adams (King’s College London).  Eddie’s thesis on Paul’s use of kosmos and social-scientific perspectives is really fresh and cogent.  He studied under John Barclay at Glasgow.  Now he is working on several other projects, including an exploration of how the churches met in Corinth.  I believe he also co-edited a collection of groundbreaking essays on Christianity in Corinth.  He was a keynote speaker two years ago at the British NT conference – a serious privilege.  Most impressive of all – he is a genuinely humble and nice guy.  When you talk to him, he actually listens and even seems interested!

Do any of you have others you want to put forward as ranking among the next generation of scholars to impact New Testament studies?

10 thoughts on “Most impressive younger NT scholars

  1. Ah yes, David. Spoken like a true Cantabian! But you are right! Shame on me for forgetting my own thesis examiner. Simon is really great and his published thesis did something unprecedented – a student directly takes on his supervisor on the most controversial NT topic of the latter quarter of the twentieth century!

  2. Chris Keith. I had the wonderful opportunity to go through College and some Seminary with Chris and watch him grow enormously in his thinking. He’s definitely one to watch. Another would be Rafael Rodríguez. While I do not know him as well as Chris, Rafael is a provocative thinker.

  3. Nijay, I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m rather overated! But I do have my own fragrence coming out soon, it is called, “Magpie Roadkill: The Scent of Rotting Flesh”. If you check out the content of articles written by Dan Gurtner you’ll see why I call him “the curtain guy”!

  4. I would add yet another Dukie. J.R. Daniel Kirk, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary. An all-around great guy, extremely bright, and bubbling with more creative ideas than anyone I’ve met in a while.

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