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Renowned theologian funds Concordia Seminary chair

New Testament focus of new endowed professorship

Voelz-James-smDr. Jack Dean Kingsbury, prominent New Testament scholar, has established the Dr. Jack Dean Kingsbury Chair of New Testament Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis beginning in the 2015-16 academic year.

Dr. James W. Voelz, graduate professor of exegetical theology, will be installed as the first occupant of the chair at 10 a.m., Friday, Sept. 4, during the Opening Service that begins the Seminary’s academic year.

Kingsbury, a 1959 Seminary graduate, “desires the biblical, Christ-centered theology of the Lutheran church to continue in its pastors through academic excellence at the Seminary,” according to endowment documents.

“Through the efforts funded by this endowed chair, Concordia Seminary’s graduates and the Lutheran church as a whole will be better prepared to share the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ with those who do not hold fast to Him in faith and to manage and utilize the blessings of God,” the endowment documents state.

Professor emeritus of biblical theology at Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, Va., Kingsbury is considered an expert on Matthew and the other Synoptic Gospels. His work was among the earliest in the modern period to promote a literary approach to Gospel studies, rather than a source-critical approach. He was Concordia Seminary’s first outside scholar to be invited to teach its regularly presented “Major Figures” Ph.D. seminar. His books include The Christology of Mark’s Gospel, Matthew as Story, Conflict in Mark, Conflict in Luke, and Matthew (Proclamation Commentary).

A Seminary faculty member since 1989, Voelz has been engaged in both the scholarly world and the wider church for more than four decades. He previously served as chair of the exegetical department (2013–15), dean of the faculty (2006–10) and dean of the graduate school (1996–2002).

“Jack Dean Kingsbury is among the few true giants in the field of New Testament studies, and he has been an inspiration to me personally for more than three decades,” Voelz said. “Words fail adequately to express what a pleasure and an honor it is to be the first occupant of the Dr. Jack Dean Kingsbury Chair of New Testament Theology and thus to be associated both with him and with his outstanding scholarship.”

“Dr. Kingsbury’s gift reflects his confidence in Concordia Seminary to continue to teach biblical, Christ-centered theology with rigor and effectiveness,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kloha, provost of Concordia Seminary. “Dr. Voelz is the leading New Testament teacher and scholar in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). Not only is he a recognized scholar worldwide, but his love of the Word, of students and of teaching means that he is a gift to our students and to the Church.”

Voelz’s areas of focus are the Greek language, hermeneutics (theory of interpretation) and the Synoptic Gospels. His publications include Fundamental Greek Grammar, What Does This Mean, and, in the Concordia Commentary Series, Mark 1:1-8:26. He has been involved with the North American-centered Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) since 1977, presenting papers regularly on a wide range of topics, generally in the areas of the Greek language, hermeneutics and the Gospel of Mark. He also has served on steering committees of various sections and groups of the SBL.

In 1984 Voelz was invited to membership in Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (SNTS), the international Society of New Testament studies. He has regularly presented papers in both the biblical hermeneutics and New Testament Greek grammar seminars there, each of which he has also co-chaired in turn from 1991 until the present. Currently, he is preparing the manuscript for the commentary on the second half of the Gospel of Mark.

A Milwaukee native, Voelz is a lifelong member of the LCMS. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy in New Testament studies from Cambridge University, Cambridge, England (1978); a Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary (1971); and a Bachelor of Arts from Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Ind. (1967).

“Through Isaiah God said, ‘It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth’ (Is. 49:6),” said Dr. Dale A. Meyer, Concordia Seminary president.

“Concordia Seminary dare not be content with denominational maintenance,” he said. “If we are serious about spreading the light of salvation, we must be present among today’s academics who influence tomorrow’s religious leaders. By establishing this chair, Dr. Jack Dean Kingsbury further enables the mission and, in Dr. James Voelz, other scholars and those they influence will be engaged by the word of salvation in a scholarly and faithful way.”

Endowed professorships are created to help recruit and retain top faculty. The Kingsbury endowed chair is one of 10 endowed chairs currently at the Seminary.

The Kingsbury professorship is open to full-time faculty members who are recognized as New Testament scholars of “standing in the field.” As occupant of the chair, Voelz will attend and participate in annual national or international scholarly society meetings, and he will give an annual public lecture to the faculty and student body at the Seminary on a theological topic in the New Testament.

The first Dr. Jack Dean Kingsbury Lecture in New Testament Theology will be delivered by Voelz Sept. 22. The title of the lecture is “Return to the Text: Literary Criticism and Beyond.” The lecture, held at 7:30 p.m. in Werner Auditorium on the campus of Concordia Seminary, is open to the public. The lecture also will be streamed live and later made available through the Seminary’s online resources.

About Concordia Seminary
Concordia Seminary provides Gospel-centered graduate-level theological education for pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars and other leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). Since its founding in 1839, Concordia Seminary has equipped more than 12,000 graduates to serve Church and world. Today, a world-renowned faculty teaches more than 600 students in the classroom, off-campus and online. Learn more at www.csl.edu.