Westmont Magazine A New Professor Holds the Gundry Chair
Sandra Richter Joined the Faculty as The Robert Gundry Professor in Biblical Studies After Tremper Longman III Retired
Sandra Richter, who has taught Old Testament at Asbury Theological and Wesley Biblical Seminaries as well as at Wheaton College, is the new Robert H. Gundry professor in biblical studies. Her research focuses on Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomistic history, Isaiah, and the integration of Syro-Palestinian archeology and the Bible. She is broadly known in the Academy for her ground breaking work in “The Deuteronomistic History and the Name Theology: lešakkēn šemô šām in the Bible and the Ancient Near East” and among laity for her celebrated book “The Epic of Eden: A Christian Entry into the Old Testament.”
The Gundry chair allows her to focus more time on research and writing. “I’ve kept one foot in the guild and one foot in the church, leading student groups on archaeological excavations, speaking to both faith-based and technical audiences, filming curricula for laity and writing commentaries for academicians. This post embraces all that.”
Richter graduated from Valley Forge University, and she earned a Master of Arts in theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a doctorate in Hebrew Bible from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University.
Her passion for the great biblical story as a whole drives her interest in the Old Testament. “My great grief as an academic and as a Christian is that most people attempt to know and tell this story without any real grip on the first two-thirds of the tale. As academics and as laity, we treat the New Covenant as though it stands in isolation. In reality, this story begins in Eden, when the first Adam made the world-altering decision to walk away from paradise. Everything that stands between Genesis 3 and Revelation 21 is one continuous epic of redemption, a complex and many-faceted rescue plan. My ambition as a professor at every level (laity, undergraduate, graduate and beyond) is to bring these characters to life by understanding their world.”
Tremper Longman III, a prolific author and popular speaker, retired to be closer to his family on the East Coast. He taught at Westminster Theological Seminary for 18 years before coming toWestmontin1998 and being installed as the first Robert H. Gundry professor in biblical studies.
“One of my real passions—as I try to help people love the Old Testament, see its significance and understand it— is to realize that the Old Testament is fulfilled in Christ,” he says. “I put a big emphasis on Christological readings of the Old Testament, and that helps people see the relevance of the Old Testament to their Christian lives today. Jesus himself said in Luke 24 that the whole Old Testament anticipated his coming.”
Longman has authored or coauthored more than 30 books about the Old Testament, including his most recent: “The Fear of the Lord is Wisdom: A Theological Introduction to Wisdom in Israel.” He earned the 2009 ECPA Christian Book Award for “Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry and Writings.” He was Westmont Researcher of the Year in 2002 and 2012.
“I want to know God better, and I think the foundational place where God reveals himself and his will for us is the Bible, “he says. “I have the privilege of sitting down and studying it.
“The best part about teaching at Westmont has been the opportunity to introduce students to the Old Testament and its importance for our faith and life,” he says. “I’m thankful for the 19 years that I have taught here and for the space provided not only for teaching but also for my writing. I will miss my colleagues and interaction on a daily basis with them. I intend to stay quite active in writing, consulting and teaching occasional courses.”