Dr. Robin J. DeWitt Knauth - Education

Academic Specialization:
Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Biblical Archaeology, Hebrew Language,
Ancient Near Eastern History and Literature, Biblical and ANE Law, Ethics, DSS, Luke.

Courses I Am Currently Teaching:  
Old Testament Faith and History, Biblical Archaeology, Introductory Hebrew
History and Culture of the Ancient Near East, Intermediate Hebrew
"Writing Intensive" Seminars on Exodus, Kingship Ideologies, David, and Old Testament Women.  

Professional Memberships:
American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR)
Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS)
Society of Biblical Literature (SBL)
SBL Biblical Law Group

Archaeological Institute of America (AIA)
Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology (North Central Chapter)
Mennonite Scholars Network

Education:
Harvard University, Cambridge MA   (1991-2004) Th.D. 2004 in Hebrew Bible
Regent College,
Vancouver BC           (1989-1991) Dip.C.S. 1990, M.T.S. 1991 in Biblical Studies
Westminster Choir Coll,
Princeton NJ (1984-1989) Pt-time Special Student: Church Music, Conducting
Princeton University, Princeton NJ    (1981-1985) A.B. 1985 in Politics
Marinette Public High School,
Marinette WI (1977-81) Dipl. 1981

Honors and Awards:
Dean's Dissertation Fellowship, Harvard Divinity School, 1998-1999.
Tuition Scholarship, Harvard Divinity School, 1991-1997.
Summer Travel Grant (Israel), Endowment for Biblical Research (ASOR), 1994.
Winner of Departmental Prize for Biblical Studies, Regent College, 1991.
Benedict Foundation Scholarship, Princeton, 1981-1985.
National Merit Scholar, Princeton, 1981-1982.
HS: Valedictorian, Excellence in English Award, Student Council, TASP, AFS, Hi-Q, 4-H, etc.

Doctoral Examinations: 
Hebrew, Scholarship, Pre-exilic History, ANE Law. Passed 11/95
    (examiners: J. Hackett, P. Machinist, L. Stager).

Dissertation Summary:  The dissertation is an historical-critical analysis of the Jubilee Laws in Leviticus 25 and related passages, stretching from ANE roots up to interpretations in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gospel of Luke, exploring a concept of scriptural "transformation."  It is contended that these laws reflect ancient (pre-monarchic) social welfare measures based on practical, economically sound principles aimed at limiting the consequences of debt in a subsistence economy.  The "fallow" (beginning with the harvest and ending with planting) was a mechanism for providing food for the poor.  Release of debt-slaves, cancellation of debt, and land restoration were all based on a completed schedule of repayment.  During the exile (directly following the Cyrus edict, precisely 49 years after the destruction of the temple) these measures were reinterpreted and edited into a political message of hope for restoration from exile.  Release of debt-slaves became release of captives, restoration of land taken for debt became restoration of land taken in conquest.  The Jubilee became a symbol of God's favor, that the time had come to return to Israel.  The original intent of the laws was partially obscured as a result of this editing process.  Then, as reflected in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in the Gospel of Luke, this transformation is continued in a more spiritual and eschatological direction, where the cancellation of debt became forgiveness of sins.  Release from the slavery to sin was accompanied by a restoration of the rightful inheritance of eternal life and the final Sabbath rest.  This sort of transformation, whereby the scriptures maintain their relevance within the community of faith, is a continuing and legitimate process, but must be guided by a careful, historical-critical understanding of the passages within their own historical contexts (defended 2004).

Dissertation Committee: 
Paul Hanson, Peter Machinist, and Francois Bovon,
with help from Ted Heibert, Gary Anderson, and Frank Moore Cross (Emeritus)

Back to RJDKnauth home page