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Whitworth Theology Department Annual Newsletter 2018

Will Kynes (2013-present), Assistant Professor of Theology

Gratitude is regularly the primary emotion I experience when I begin writing this annual newsletter — not just that another academic year is over, but also for all the joys that teaching our amazing Whitworth students alongside my wonderful colleagues consistently brings. For example, I recently had the bittersweet experience of finishing the two-year-long Hebrew sequence with a truly talented group of students. One of my great joys in teaching is watching students develop over these four semesters to the point where they have an impressive grasp of the language (on the final, they translated difficult poetic passages, deciphered texts they had never studied before, used the textual apparatus to make text-critical judgments, and reflected on the theological significance of the texts they studied). However, this makes it even harder to see them graduate, as six of them did this year (one in the M.A. program). I did experience some unalloyed joy in regard to teaching this year, though, when I was awarded a Teaching the Bible Grant from the PCUSA to develop a new service-learning course on biblical responses to suffering. I was even more delighted to hear that Karin Heller received the same grant as well.

On the research front, I was relieved finally to finish two book projects that I have been laboring on for several years. The first, a monograph titled An Obituary for "Wisdom Literature": The Birth, Death, and Intertextual Reintegration of a Biblical Corpus, will be published by Oxford University Press later this year (for more, see here). The second, Reading Proverbs Intertextually, the third in a series of volumes that I have edited with Katharine Dell, should come out around the same time (for more, see here). I'm immensely grateful to the four theology undergraduates who made significant contributions to both of these books as my research assistants over the years thanks to the generosity of the Welch Family Foundation. For those interested in my scholarship, I post all my work here.

Finally, in December I was appointed to be the new director of the George F. Whitworth Honors Program. I won't actually step into the position until 2019 because this coming fall I'll be leading the first Honors Smithsonian Internship Semester in Washington, D.C., and then spending my sabbatical in the spring as a visiting scholar at the University of Virginia, my alma mater. If you want to keep up with me on my travels, I'll be condensing my experiences into 280-character reflections here.