Knowles Named Vice President of Academic Affairs at Virginia Theological Seminary

The Rev. Dr. Melody D. Knowles, Associate Professor of Hebrew Scriptures at McCormick, has been named Vice President of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Old Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary.

VTS is the preeminent Episcopal Seminary in the United States, located in Alexandria, Virginia. The full-time appointment will begin on July 1, 2013.

She is the fourth member of McCormick’s faculty to be named dean of a seminary during the last several years following Dr. Deborah Mullen (Dean of the Faculty at Columbia Theological Seminary), Dr. Luis Rivera (Dean of the Faculty at McCormick), and Dr. Jose Irizarry (Academic Dean of the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico).

"We are very excited for Dr. Knowles and this next stage of her journey. She is a great faculty colleague. It has been a privilege to see her scholarly and teaching career blossom at McCormick. We look forward to the impact that she will have at Virginia Theological Seminary and on theological education, "said McCormick President Frank Yamada. Dr. Knowles came to McCormick in 1999, and has taught courses on the religion of Israel, the Psalms, Hebrew, and the Bible in film. Her principal research interests include the reworking of historical traditions within the Psalter, women’s use of the Psalms, and the ancient practice of religion. She has also been involved in archaeological excavations at various sites in Israel, and has worked to make McCormick’s rich archaeological collection a visible and well-used educational resource for students.

Since coming to McCormick, Dr. Knowles was ordained in the Episcopal Church, USA, and has been active in congregations in Chicago and Poughkeepsie, NY.

Her published works include Centrality Practiced: Jerusalem in the Religious Practice of Yehud and the Diaspora in the Persian Period (SBL Press, 2006), and Contesting Texts: Jews and Christians in Conversation About the Bible (editor and co-author along with John Pawlikowski, Esther Menn and Timothy Sandoval; Fortress Press, 2007). She was also the lead translator of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah for the Common English Bible, and wrote the notes for the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles in the study edition of the CEB. Her articles and book chapters also appear in The Journal of Biblical Literature, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, Studies in Philology, The Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception, Theological Bible Commentary (Westminster/John Knox), Psalms for Preaching and Worship (Eerdmans), Scandalizing Jesus? Reappreciating Kazantzakis' The Last Temptation of Christ (Continuum), Approaching Yehud: New Approaches to the Study of the Persian Period (SBL Press), The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Ethics, and The Oxford Handbook to the Psalms. She is currently writing a commentary on Psalms 107-150 for the Illuminations Commentary Series (Eerdmans).

In addition, she has served on the steering committees for the Society of Biblical Literature consultation on Jerusalem in Bible and Archaeology, the Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah section, as well as the Book of Psalms section. She has also served on the board of trustees of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Brent House, and McCormick Theological Seminary.

“I am glad and proud that McCormick was the school where Melody started and developed her teaching and scholarly career. We are thankful for her many contributions and leadership in the areas of teaching, scholarship, service, and worship. Her legacy will be remembered and her company sadly missed,” said Luis R. Rivera, Dean of the Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

McCormick is one of 12 schools related to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is an accredited member of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) and is affiliated with the University of Chicago, the Hyde Park Cluster of Theological Schools and the Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS). As one of the nation’s most respected seminaries, it celebrates and prepares women and men from all denominations and backgrounds for Christian ministry and service in the year 2040 and beyond, advancing a model of education that is cross-cultural, urban, Reformed and ecumenical.

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