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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

BP 7539 01COLLOQUY - THIRD YEAR DMIN - BP DMIN Session - BP 2017-2018

Colloquy for Third Year students - Biblical Preaching DMin degree program. COURSE MEETS JUNE 18-22, 2018 in GH306.

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

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Faculty Publications