Students at commencement

Meet the Faculty

Kathryn M. Schifferdecker

Kathryn M. Schifferdecker

Associate Professor of Old Testament and Chair of Bible Division

  • Th.D. (Harvard University, The Divinity School)
  • M.Div. (Yale University, The Divinity School)

Biography

Kathryn M Schifferdecker came to Luther Seminary as an assistant professor of Old Testament in 2006, after serving the school as an adjunct instructor the previous year.

Ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America in 2001, Schifferdecker was associate pastor for five years at Trinity Lutheran Church, Arkdale, Wisc., before coming to Luther.

A summa cum laude graduate of St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn. (1990), she received a Master of Divinity summa cum laude from Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Conn., (1996) and a Th.D. from Harvard Divinity School (2005). While there, she served as a teaching fellow (1998-2000) and on the editorial staff of the Harvard Theological Review (1997-2000). She is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature.

Professor Schifferdecker recently published Out of the Whirlwind: Creation Theology in the Book of Job published in 2008 by Harvard University Press.

Featured Work

Out of the Whirlwind: Creation Theology in the Book of Job

Out of the Whirlwind: Creation Theology in the Book of Job

Harvard University Press (October, 2008)

The book of Job is a complex, sophisticated treatment of the problem of undeserved suffering. It is also a sustained meditation on creation, on humanity’s place in creation, and on God’s ordering of creation. In this study, Kathryn Schifferdecker offers a close literary and theological reading of the book of Job—particularly of the speeches of God at the end of the book—in order to articulate its creation theology, which is particularly pertinent in our environmentally-conscious age. After all of Job’s agonized questioning, God’s answer does not directly address Job’s questions about undeserved suffering or divine justice. Instead, the divine speeches take Job on a God’s-eye tour of creation in all its beauty and complexity. In extraordinarily detailed and beautiful poetry, the divine speeches show Job that the world is radically non-anthropocentric, that there exist wild places and animals whose value has nothing to do with their usefulness to humanity, and that God delights in the freedom of God’s creatures. This vision of the divine speeches enables Job to move out of despair into renewed participation in God’s often-dangerous but beautiful world. This creation theology of Job, virtually unique in the Bible, has much to say to us today, as we struggle theologically and politically with the issues of environmental degradation and humanity’s relationship to the natural world.

Out of the Whirlwind: Creation Theology in the Book of Job

Courses

OT 1160 01PSALMS Summer Term 2015-2016

This course introduces students to the God of the Psalter and role of the psalms in the life of faith. Students are introduced to the interpretation of Hebrew poetry as well as the theological interpretation and analysis of the main types of psalms. Consideration is given to the use of psalms in Christian worship, preaching ministry, hymnody and spirituality. Prerequisite: SG0701/SG0702 - Scripture and Its Witnesses and LG0110 - Biblical Hebrew

OT 1130 01 S6BIBLE AND ECOLOGY Spring Semester 2015-2016

An examination of biblical texts that speak of creation and humanity’s place in it. Special attention is paid to the topic of human vocation vis-à-vis creation, especially in light of contemporary environmental issues. NOTE: CLASS WILL ALSO INCLUDE FIELD TRIPS; MEETS TWO WEEKENDS SPRING 2016

OT 3117 01 F6FIVE SCROLLS Spring Semester 2015-2016

An examination of selected material from Ruth, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and/or Lamentations. Texts are studied with attention to their use in preaching, worship, and pastoral care.

CD 1613 01HOLY LAND-PEOPLE PLACES PRAYERS January Term 2015-2016

An introduction to the history, cultures, and peoples of Israel and Palestine. Participants in this course visit places holy to Christians, Jews, and Muslims, exploring the biblical texts associated with those places and the opportunities they present for enhancing preaching and teaching. Participants also learn about current geo-political realities in the region, visiting with Palestinians and Israelis and hearing their stories, their struggles, and their hopes for the future. The class will include historical and theological reading, reflection, and discussion. This course will have a significant cross-cultural learning component. TRAVEL COURSE CONTACT INSTRUCTOR IN ORDER TO REGISTER; PRIORITY DEADLINE: JULY 16, 2015 FULFILLS CCME ELCA RECIPROCITY COURSE

CD 1613 02HOLY LAND-PEOPLE PLACES PRAYERS January Term 2015-2016

An introduction to the history, cultures, and peoples of Israel and Palestine. Participants in this course visit places holy to Christians, Jews, and Muslims, exploring the biblical texts associated with those places and the opportunities they present for enhancing preaching and teaching. Participants also learn about current geo-political realities in the region, visiting with Palestinians and Israelis and hearing their stories, their struggles, and their hopes for the future. The class will include historical and theological reading, reflection, and discussion. This course will have a significant cross-cultural learning component. TRAVEL COURSE. CONTACT INSTRUCTOR IN ORDER TO REGISTER; PRIORITY DEADLINE: JULY 16, 2015 FULFILLS CCME ELCA RECIPROCITY COURSE

OT 1144 01 F6THE BOOK OF JOB Fall Semester 2015-2016

An examination of the book of Job and the theological questions it raises. Special attention is paid to questions about suffering, the problem of evil, and the nature of divine justice. The book is also examined in light of Christian theology and pastoral practice. Brief consideration is given to the place of Job within the context of other biblical wisdom literature.

View new and notable publications from our faculty.

Faculty Publications