Yesterday was my first day of lectures in a graduate class for my M.A. The course is Biblical Theology with Dr. Eugene Carpenter. I have taken courses with Carpenter before, most notably Deuteronomy. Dr. Carpenter is really smart. Like, really, really smart. He is so smart that he forces me to write woefully inarticulate sentences like the previous one.
He has taught courses in nine languages. Taught. Not “knows.” Not “is fluent in.” Taught. And we’re not just talking your typical courses. He has taught Akkadian for crying out loud! After he mentioned the language classes he has taught – and that’s just the language classes – he sighed and said, “But I got bored with that.”
Thankfully, one thing that he is most definitely not bored with is biblical theology. He began by outlining what biblical theology is and how it informs and shapes other theological disciplines, like systematic theology, historical theology, practical theology and even philosophic theology. After defining the discipline (a notoriously difficult task which I will explain in a later post), Dr. Carpenter got excited and said,
“Most people live in biblical theology. This is not systematic…its not philosophic. This is where you are living and moving and having your being. Its about as practical as you can get!”
Here is his very brief bio:
Dr. Eugene Carpenter is Scholar in Residence at Bethel College, Professor of Old Testament, Biblical Theology, and Hebrew. Dr. Carpenter’s educational and professional training includes a B.A., Bethel College with majors in English Literature, Biblical Literature and a Minor in Greek; M.Div., Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary with emphasis in biblical studies and Hebrew and Aramaic; Studies toward a Masters in Classical Studies (Latin and Greek), University of Kentucky; Ph.D. in Old Testament and Semitic Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary. He has taught at Wheaton College and Graduate School, Bethel College (Mishawaka, IN), Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary, Lexington Theological Seminary, and Asbury Theological Seminary. Dr. Carpenter also holds a degree in Accounting.
Let’s recap: He has a degree in Accounting…and teaches Akkadian.
You get the picture.
Anyway, here is one of his books:
The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009). Carpenter contributed with Deuteronomy. I was privileged to read the pre-published manuscript as one of the texts for my Deuteronomy class. This series of commentaries focuses on (as the title suggests) the background to their respective books. This series is superb in its scholarship and is only improved with hundreds of full-color pictures of geographical sites, artifacts, and ancient artwork. He is awaiting publication on a commentary on Exodus.
More to come!