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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion

Profiles

Dr David Janzen, M.Div., Ph.D. Princeton Theological Seminary

Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible / Old Testament in the Department of Theology and Religion
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43958
Room number: Abbey House 103

Contact Dr David Janzen (email at david.janzen@durham.ac.uk)

Biography

David Janzen received his M.Div. and Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has taught in the United States and Guatemala, and has been in the Theology and Religion Department at Durham since 2015. His more recent research has focused on liberative approaches to biblical literature, trauma and the study of the Bible, and has covered the Deuteronomistic History and Persian-period material from the Hebrew Bible. He is currently at work on a two-volume commentary on Chronicles for Eerdmans Press.

Besides more traditional historical-critical approaches to biblical literature, David has explored other hermeneutical avenues. He has used social anthropology to investigate sacrifice as ritual and ritualized action in The Social Meanings of Sacrifice in the Hebrew Bible and to explore the story of the divorce of the foreign women in Ezra-Nehemiah in Witch-hunts, Purity, and Social Boundaries. He has used trauma theory to describe a traumatic deconstruction of the narrative of the Deuteronomistic History in The Violent Gift, and in Trauma and the Failure of History uses both the philosophy of history and various kinds of trauma theory to contrast history as narrative with psychological trauma as something that cannot be narrativized and so cannot be a part of history. In The Necessary King, he uses postcolonial theory to make sense of the emphasis on monarchy and leadership in the Deuteronomistic History. His most recent book, Liberation and Method, focuses on hermeneutical theory, and argues that while the study of history need not be a part of biblical interpretation, readings with the ethical goal of emancipation should be, and that the field of biblical literature should orient itself to leadership from its marginalized members who can provide guidance to more privileged students and scholars as to how to go about this liberative work. Monographs such as The End of History and the Last King and Chronicles and the Politics of Davidic Restoration study Persian-period biblical writings and their historical contexts from more traditional historical-critical approaches.

Books

Liberation and Method: The Ethical Necessity of Emancipatory Biblical Interpretation. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, forthcoming.

The End of History and the Last King: Achaemenid Ideology and Community Identity in Ezra-Nehemiah. Library of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Series. London: Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2021.

Trauma and the Failure of History: Kings, Lamentations, and the Destruction of Jerusalem. Society of Biblical Literature Semeia Series. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2019.

Chronicles and the Politics of Davidic Restoration: A Quiet Revolution. Library of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies, 657. London: Bloomsbury, 2017.

The Necessary King: A Postcolonial Reading of the Monarchy in the Deuteronomistic History. Hebrew Bible Monographs, 57. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2013.

The Violent Gift: Trauma’s Subversion of the Deuteronomistic History’s Narrative. Library of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies, 561. London: T & T Clark, 2012. Re-released in paperback by Bloomsbury in 2013.

The Social Meanings of Sacrifice in the Hebrew Bible: A Study of Four Writings. Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, 344. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2004.

Witch-Hunts, Purity, and Social Boundaries: The Expulsion of the Foreign Women in Ezra 9-10. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series, 350. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002.

Recent peer reviewed articles and essays

"Jephthah’s Ethical Daughters" in Characters and Characterization in the Book of Judges. Edited by Keith Bodner and Benjamin J. M. Johnson. Library of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Series. London: Bloomsbury, forthcoming.

"Claimed and Unclaimed Experience: Problematic Readings of Trauma in the Hebrew Bible." Biblical Interpretation 27 (2019): 163-85.

"A Monument and a Name: The Primary Purpose of Chronicles’ Genealogies." Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 43 (2018): 45-66.

"Yahwistic appropriation of Achaemenid ideology and the function of Nehemiah 9 in Ezra-Nehemiah." Journal of Biblical Literature 136 (2017): 839-56.

"A Colonized People: Persian Hegemony, Hybridity, and Community Identity in Ezra-Nehemiah." Biblical Interpretation 24 (2016): 27-47.

"‘What He Did for Me’: David’s Warning about Joab in 1 Kings 2.5." Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 39 (2015): 265-79.

Recent selected scholarly presentations

"Virtuous King and Evil Empire in Ezra-Nehemiah." The Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting. November 2019.

"Commenting on 1 Chronicles 1-9: Some Problems." The Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting. November 2018.

"Claimed and Unclaimed Experience: The Anti-therapeutic Effects of Social Narratives of Trauma." The Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting. November 2017.

"What Historians Do, and What the Chronicler (an Historian) Did." Society for Old Testament Study meeting. January 2017.

"The Death of Josiah and Prophecy in Chronicles." The Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting. November 2015.

Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Janzen, David (2020). Sin and Expiation. In The Oxford Handbook of Ritual and Worship. Balentine, Samuel Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • David Janzen (2015). Festivals and Holy Days. In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Theology. Samuel E. Balentine Oxford University Press. 1: 351-362.

Journal Article

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Supervises