Project proposal for Changing Perspectives:

Thomas L. Thompson


Changing Perspectives is a project which plans to publish volumes of collected essays and research articles, which have had a significant effect on the methods and scholarly research of its author as well as on the field of Old Testament and its related disciplines in the course of the last 50 years. It is projected that the series will include 3 types of collections: a) essays of a single scholar. who, through his lifetime career has brought about major changes through his writings; b) essays of several different scholars from a specific extra-biblical academic disciplines which have radically changed Old Testament research. Among those being planned, are volumes on history, archaeology, sociology, anthropology, folklore studies and linguistics and c) essays of several scholars which have been seminal in specific subdisciplines of Old Testament studies. Among volumes being planned are volumes related to Qumran studies, Septuaginta, apocrypha and Samaritan studies, but also sub-disciplines of the Old Testament proper, such as the Prophets, Deuteronomistic history, wisdom literature, etc.   

1.Volumes currently in process.
As part of the Copenhagen International Seminar series, I have an agreement with the publishwe Equinox Press for the publication of the following 4 volumes in the series: Copenhagen International Seminar. The volumes will be approximately 150,000 words in length and contain collected essays under the title, Changing Perspectives.  

Changing Perspectives I:  History and Tradition
by John Van Seters
with an Introduction by Thomas L. Thompson
Projected date for completion of the manuscript: July, 2010 

Changing Perspectives II: Biblical Archaeology and Biblical Narrative
by Thomas L. Thompson
with an Introduction by Philip R. Davies
Projected date for completion of the manuscript: January, 2011 

Changing Perspectives III:
by Philip R. Davies
with an Introduction by Niels Peter Lemche
Projected date for completion of the manuscript: July, 2011 

Changing Perspectives IV:
by Niels Peter Lemche
with an Introduction by John Van Seters
Projected date for completion of the manuscript: January, 2012  

2.  Short Curricula Vitae 

John Van Seters, born: May 2, 1935; Canadian citizen.
John Van Seters was educated at the University of Toronto, Princeton Theological Seminary and Yale University, where he received his PhD in 1965. Since 1965, he taught as assistant professor at Waterloo Lutheran University (1965-7), associate professor at Andover Newton Theological School (1967-70) and the University of Toronto. He became James A. Gray Professor of Biblical Literature at the University of North Carolina in 1977 until his retirement in 2000. He is currently adjunct professor at Wilfrid Laurier University. In 1978 and 1981, he had been associate director of the Wadi Tumilat archaeological project, excavating Tell Maskhuta in Egypt. Since 1964, John has published some ten books and some 75 scholarly articles. His best known works are his Abraham in History and Tradition of 1975 and his award winning books: In Search of Ancient History of 1983 and A Law Book for the Diaspora of 2003. He has just published The Biblical Saga of King David (Winona Lake: Eisenbraun, 2009). He is a member of the editorial board of the Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft.He was President of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies in 1999-2000.He has received an honorary doctoral degree (Th.D h.c) from the University of Lausanne in 1999.His Festschrift is entitled Rethinking the Foundations: Historiography in the Ancient World and in the Bible: Essays in Honour of John Van Seters, ed. by S.L. McKenzie and T. Römer (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2000).   

Thomas L. Thompson, born, January 7, 1939; Danish citizen
Thomas Thompson was educated at the universities of Duquesne, Oxford, Tübingen and Temple, where he received his PhD in 1976. He taught as Lector at the University of Dayton (1964-65), assistant professor at the University of Detroit (1967-69) and associate professor at Lawrence (1988) and Marquette Universities (1989-1993). He was appointed Professor of Old Testament exegesis at the University of Copenhagen in 1993 and held this position until his retirement in 2009. From 1969 to 1977, he served as research associate on the Tübinger Atlas des vorderen Orients at the University of Tübingen and was in charge of the development of 7 double folio maps on the Bronze Age Settelements in the Sinai, Negev and Palestine. In 1985 he was Visiting Professor of biblical exegesis at the École Biblique in Jerusalem and in 1986 he served as director of the project: Toponomie Palestinienne, a joint project in historical geography of the École Biblique, the University of Louvaine La Neuve and UNESCO. Since 1962 he has published some 14 books and over 100 scholarly articles. His best known works are his Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives (1974), The Early History of the Israelite People (1992) and his The Bible and History: How Writers Create A Past (1999). His most recent work is The Messiah Myth: The Ancient Near Eastern Roots of Jesus and David (London: Jonathan Cape, 2005). He is the founder and general editor of the monograph series Copenhagen International Seminar since 1994 as well as the responsible editor for the Changing Perspectives series, associate editor of the Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament and is on the editorial boards of the interdisciplinary journal, Holy Land Studies and theological journal, Dansk teolotisk tidsskrift. The first issue of the 2009 volume of the Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament is dedicated to studies in his honour.  

Philip R. Davies, born April 20, 1945 ; British citizen
Philip Davies was educated at the University of Oxford, where he received his M.A. (Hons.) in 1967 and St. Andrew’s, where he received his PhD in 1972. From 1971-1974, he served as Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. He was lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield from 1975-1984, Senior Lecturer from 1984-1990 and Reader from 1990-1994 and was appointed as Professor of Biblical Studies in 1994 and is currently Professor emeritus. He served as Visiting Professor at St. George’s College, Jerusalem, in 1980, Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1991, UNISA in Pretoria, South Africa in 1997 and Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, in 2003. Since the 1970s he has published numerous scholarly articles and books! His best known works are In Search of Ancient Israel (1992) and Scribes and Schools: The Canonization of Hebrew Scripture (1998). His most recent publication is Memories of Ancient Israel: An Introduction to Biblical History, Ancient and Modern (Louisville: Westminster/ John Knox, 2008). He was founder and editor of the Journal for the Study of the Old Testament and its supplement series, He was consulting editor of The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew, editor of the Companions to the Qumran Scrolls and Bible World and has served on the editorial boards of the Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha and Related Literature; Journal of Hebrew Scriptures and Postscripts. From 1986-1994, he was secretary of the European Association for Jewish Studies, from 2000-2006, executive officer of the European Association of Biblical Studies and its President from 2007-2010. He has also served as president for the Society of Old Testament Society in 2007. His Festschrift should have been published already in 2005, but has long been lost on Duncan’s desk.   

Niels Peter Lemche, born September 6, 1945; Danish citizen
Niels Peter Lemche was educated at the University of Copenhagen and received his Candidate degree in 1971 and the degree of Dr. theol (=D.Phil) in 1985. From 1972-1978 he was appointed to candidate and senior research fellowships at the University of Copenhagen. He taught as Lektor at the University of Århus from 1978-1986 and was appointed Professor of Old Testament exegesis in 1987 and continues in that position today. He was Visiting Professor at the University of Hamburg in 1986-1987 and at the University of Stellenbosch in 1994. He served as director for PhD studies for the Faculty of Theology from 1993-2002 and director of the university’s research school “Religion and Society” from 2003-2005. Since 2009 he has been attached to the Center for the Bible and Cultural Memory. Since 1971, he has published some 15 books and about 150 scholarly articles. His best known works are his textbook, Ancient Israel, first published in Danish in 1984 (1984) and his doctoral disputation Early Israel (1985). His most recent publication is his history of Old Testament research: The Old Testament Between Theology and History: A Critical Survey (Louisville: Westminster/ John Knox, 2008). He is the founder and general editor for the journal Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament since 1985, one of the editors of the monograph series Copenhagen International Seminar since its founding in 1994 and sits on the editorial boards of several international journals. He was one of the founders of the European Association of Biblical Studies and served as its first secretary general from 1996-2001. His Festschrift is entitled Historie og Konstruktion: Festskrift til Niels Peter Lemche i anledning af 60 års fødselsdagen den 6. September 2005, ed. by M. Müller and Th.L. Thompson (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum, 2005). 

3.  Contents
Each volume will arrange its essays thematically around 3 or 4 major transitions in Old Testament research. A maximum of ca. 150,000 words will be given to these essays, including an introductory essay, setting the essays into their historical and thematic contexts. The selection of the essays and their order within each volume will be coordinated by the author and the writer of the introduction who will function in a role as adviser.  

4.  Sample essays from each volume

Changing Perspectives I, John Van Seters:
a.   “The Terms ‘Amorite’ and ‘Hittite’ in the Old Testament,” Vetus Testamentum 22/1 (1972), 64-81.
b.  “Confessional Reformulations in the Exilic Period,” Vetus Testamentum 22/4 (1972), 448-459.  

Changing Perspectives II, Thomas L. Thompson:
a.  “The Background of the Patriarchs: A Reply to William Dever and Malcolm Clark” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 9 (1978), 2-43.
b.  “Historiography in the Pentateuch: Twenty-Five Years after Historicity”, Scandinavian Journal for the Old Testament 13/2 (1999), 258-283.   

Changing Perspectives III, Philip R. Davies:
a.  “The Origin of Biblical Israel,” Nadav Na’aman Festschrift.b.  “God of Cyrus, God of Israel: Some Religio-Historical Reflections on Isaiah 40-55”, John Sawyer Festschrift.  

Changing Perspectives IV, Niels Peter Lemche
a.  “Justice in Western Asia in Antiquity, Or: Why No Laws Were Needed,” The Kent Law Review 70 (1995), 1695-1716.
b.  “The Old Testament—A Hellenistic Book?” in L.L. Grabbe (ed.), Did Moses Speak Attic? Jewish Historiography and Scripture in the Hellenistic Period (Sheffield: SAP, 2001), 287-318.