Students at commencement

Meet the Faculty

Kathryn M. Schifferdecker

Kathryn M. Schifferdecker

Associate Professor of Old Testament; Bible Division Chair

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

Schifferdecker is a frequent contributor to workingpreacher.org, Word & World and the author of Out of the Whirlwind: Creation Theology in the Book of Job (Harvard University Press, 2008). She is currently writing a commentary on the book of Esther.

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 1164 01PREACHING THE OLD TESTAMENT TEXTS Summer Term 2017-2018

An introduction to preaching from the Old Testament. The course examines various types of texts from the Old Testament, including narrative, law, and prophecy, and explores different hermeneutical approaches to preaching these texts. Special attention is paid to theological themes and to the preaching of these texts for the sake of Christian life and faith. Prerequisite: PR 0510 – Foundations of Biblical Preaching

OT 0115 01LAW AND NARRATIVE Spring Semester 2017-2018

An overview of the Pentateuch (Genesis – Deuteronomy), the Deuteronomistic History (Joshua – 2 Kings), and other narrative texts, with attention to both legal material and narrative texts. Attention is paid to major theological themes, events, books, and figures. Attention is also paid to hermeneutical and exegetical issues regarding interpreting Old Testament law and Hebrew narrative. Texts are studied in order to equip students to interpret them for the sake of Christian life and ministry. Equivalency: SG0702 Scripture and Its Witnesses II

OT 0115 01LAW AND NARRATIVE Fall Semester 2017-2018

An overview of the Pentateuch (Genesis – Deuteronomy), the Deuteronomistic History (Joshua – 2 Kings), and other narrative texts, with attention to both legal material and narrative texts. Attention is paid to major theological themes, events, books, and figures. Attention is also paid to hermeneutical and exegetical issues regarding interpreting Old Testament law and Hebrew narrative. Texts are studied in order to equip students to interpret them for the sake of Christian life and ministry. Equivalency: SG0702 Scripture and Its Witnesses II

OT 1144 50 S6THE BOOK OF JOB Fall Semester 2017-2018

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. Prerequisite: LG0110 Biblical Hebrew

OT 1144 01THE BOOK OF JOB Summer Term 2016-2017

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. Advanced elective. Prerequisites: SG0701/SG0702 Scriptures and Its Witnesses; and LG0110 Hebrew.

SG 0702 01SCRIPTURE AND ITS WITNESSES - II Spring Semester 2016-2017

An inquiry into the Old and New Testaments as Christian scripture and the Bible's multiple ways of presenting the nature of God and God's commitments to the world and its peoples. Students develop a nuanced outlook of the Bible as a whole as they gain experience identifying how several theological ideas receive different expression in the scriptures at different times in the history of Israel and the church. Small discussion groups provide weekly opportunities to interpret several books from the Old and New Testaments in greater depth while attending to those books' connections to other parts of scripture. Students consider how they lead others in making sense of the Bible in light of their current realities and for the sake of exploring and articulating their Christian faith. The course brings students' cultural contexts into conversation with the Bible and emphasizes how understanding the Bible requires them to engage other biblical interpreters as essential conversation partners. Prerequisite: SG0701 Scripture and Its Witnesses I (or OT1110 or NT1210-NT1213). FULFILLS PAULINE TRADITION REQUIREMENT

SG 0702 50SCRIPTURE AND ITS WITNESSES - II Spring Semester 2016-2017

An inquiry into the Old and New Testaments as Christian scripture and the Bible's multiple ways of presenting the nature of God and God's commitments to the world and its peoples. Students develop a nuanced outlook of the Bible as a whole as they gain experience identifying how several theological ideas receive different expression in the scriptures at different times in the history of Israel and the church. Small discussion groups provide weekly opportunities to interpret several books from the Old and New Testaments in greater depth while attending to those books' connections to other parts of scripture. Students consider how they lead others in making sense of the Bible in light of their current realities and for the sake of exploring and articulating their Christian faith. The course brings students' cultural contexts into conversation with the Bible and emphasizes how understanding the Bible requires them to engage other biblical interpreters as essential conversation partners. Prerequisite: SG0701 Scripture and Its Witnesses I (or OT1110 or NT1210-NT1213); FULFILLS PAULINE TRADITION REQUIREMENT

SG 0701 01SCRIPTURE AND ITS WITNESSES - I Fall Semester 2016-2017

An inquiry into the Old and New Testaments as Christian scripture and the Bible's multiple ways of presenting the nature of God and God's commitments to the world and its peoples. Students develop a nuanced outlook of the Bible as a whole as they gain experience identifying how several theological ideas receive different expression in the scriptures at different times in the history of Israel and the church. Small discussion groups provide weekly opportunities to interpret several books from the Old and New Testaments in greater depth while attending to those books' connections to other parts of scripture. Students consider how they lead others in making sense of the Bible in light of their current realities and for the sake of exploring and articulating their Christian faith. The course brings students' cultural contexts into conversation with the Bible and emphasizes how understanding the Bible requires them to engage other biblical interpreters as essential conversation partners.

BP 7529 01COLLOQUY - SECOND YEAR DMIN - BP DMIN Session - BP 2016-2017

Colloquy for Second Year students - Biblical Preaching DMin degree program. COURSE MEETS JUNE 19-23, 2017

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 - April 8-9 and April 29-30, 2016, Friday 6-9 pm; Saturday 9 am-4 pm.

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.

BP 7519 01COLLOQUY - FIRST YEAR DMIN-BP DMIN Session - BP 2015-2016

Colloquy for First Year students - Biblical Preaching DMin degree program. COURSE MEETS JUNE 20-24, 2016

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Faculty Publications