What is your mission at Catholic Theology in the Netherlands?
My mission as freelance independent researcher in biblical studies, with a research fellowship affiliation at UFS, Bloemfontein, South Africa, since 2015, is the spreading of learning and knowledge about Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity, the sources and resources of biblical faith. Raised as a Protestant, I am committed to an ecumenical outlook and in favor of constructive interreligious dialogue. My itinerary for institutions of Catholic Theology was determined by members of the doctoral dissertation committee of supervisors at the University of Groningen (1999-2003) and my subsequent postdoc fellowships at the KU Leuven (2004-2007) and the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology (2008-2012). I wrote my third book, Semitisms in Luke’s Greek (Mohr Siebeck, 2018), in co-authorship with emeritus Professor Adelbert Denaux, who is also a priest in the Catholic Church and who served as Dean in the theological faculties of KU Leuven and Tilburg University.
How does your work strengthen the community in the Netherlands?
First and foremost, my work contributes to the academic community. For instance, I contribute articles on Qumran literature in edited volumes about “Asking Questions in Biblical Literature,” “Elders in Early Christianity,” and on the “Function of the Reader in the Interpretation and Reception of Isaiah,” in contact with colleagues at Tilburg School of Catholic Theology. I also co-organized an international conference on Spiritual Transformation in the New Testament and Related Literature in June 2022 at the Soeterbeeck Conference center, in conjunction with colleagues at Radboud University Nijmegen and UFS, Bloemfontein, South Africa. With my work as a research fellow and independent researcher, I also endeavour to contribute articles on current issues such as gendering Jesus the Jew, Paul and ancient gender perspectives, Bible and migration, Hebrew Bible and cultural trauma, Pauline studies and ethics, and others, in established academic journals and open access journals.
How did your education at HUC-JIR prepare you for your career?
My M.A. program at HUC-JIR helped me to make in-depth study of different stages of Hebrew (biblical, rabbinic, modern scholarly) and Aramaic (biblical, Targumic); to go through the allegorical interpretation of Scripture by Philo of Alexandria step by step, translating and interpreting a treatise, also in relation to Graeco-Roman philosophical contexts; to learn more about early rabbinic literature and liturgy. Even though my subsequent doctoral program at the University of Groningen strengthened my formal training in the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls more than in rabbinics, my education at HUC-JIR prepared me for situating Qumran Hebrew and Aramaic, which by 1999 was not as much a developed field of study as it is today. I also benefitted from the study of Hellenistic Jewish literature for comparative studies and from rabbinic liturgy for broadly situating liturgical history, as I also came across liturgical and poetical texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls.
What impact are you having in advancing Jewish identity and engagement?
My academic contributions to the wider scholarly community aim to explore points of convergence and difference between Emerging Christianity and its ancient Jewish environment, and thereby support Jewish-Christian dialogue with informed historical, literary, linguistic, and exegetical discussions, and shield these discussions against uninformed biases or learned misconceptions. I am a member of both the Dutch associations of New Testament studies and of Jewish studies.
Describe HUC-JIR in one word.