“Reading the New Testament documents in their natural context of Second Temple Judaism and Graeco-Roman culture is essential for understanding the extraordinarily complex dynamics of the social, political, and religious forces that shaped the emergence of the early church as Christianity.”
The Rev. Dr. James Waddell is Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Director of the Masters Programs. With more than twenty years of experience as a Lutheran pastor, James also serves in urban parish ministry.
James earned the Ph.D. in Second Temple Judaism from the University of Michigan. He has taught Biblical Studies, Classics, Religious Studies, World Religions, and Liturgical Theology at several institutions, including the University of Michigan and Ecumenical Seminary. His teaching highlights early Jewish and early church views of exploitation of the economically marginalized, and postmodern/post-colonial appropriation of justice regarding wealth, poverty, racism, violence, endurance, and liberation.
His research focuses on early developments of christology, as well as social and ideological intersections of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He has published a number of peer-reviewed books and articles, has delivered numerous papers at professional conferences, and is an active member of the Society of Biblical Literature. He is the author of The Messiah: A Comparative Study of the Enochic Son of Man and the Pauline Kyrios (T.&T. Clark, 2011) and The Struggle to Reclaim the Liturgy in the Lutheran Church: Adiaphora in Historical, Theological and Practical Perspective (Mellen, 2005), which was referred to by Bryan Spinks (Yale Institute of Sacred Music) as “a major contribution to the wider debate on liturgical theology,” and was included by Frank Senn (North American Academy of Liturgy) in a select bibliography for the article on Lutheran Worship in The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity (2010).
His blog Studia Rerum Iudaicarum reflects on early Jewish intellectual traditions as this literature informs his contemporary socio-political commentary and criticism, in particular addressing issues of tsedaqah (justice) as we learn from our past and as we live today to love God and each other.
James’ current curriculum vitae may be viewed here.
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS …
Wisdom Poured Out Like Water: Studies on Jewish and Christian Antiquity in Honor of Gabriele Boccaccini. J. Harold Ellens, Jason von Ehrenkrook, Isaac Oliver, James Waddell, Jason Zurawski editors. Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Studies 38. Edited by Friedrich V. Reiterer, Beate Ego, Tobias Nicklas, and Kristin de Troyer. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2018.
“‘I Have Been Born Among You’: Jesus, Jews, and Christians in the Second Century.” Wisdom Poured Out Like Water: Studies on Jewish and Christian Antiquity in Honor of Gabriele Boccaccini. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2018. 526-538.
“The Shadow and the Substance: Early Reception of Paul the Jew in the Letter to the Colossians.” The Early Reception of Paul the Second Temple Jew: Text, Narrative and Reception History. Isaac Oliver and Gabriele Boccaccini editors. The Library of Second Temple Studies 92. Lester Grabbe editor. London: Bloomsbury T.&T. Clark, 2018. 75-87.
The Messiah: A Comparative Study of the Enochic Son of Man and the Pauline Kyrios. London: T.&T. Clark, 2011.
The Struggle to Reclaim the Liturgy in the Lutheran Church: Adiaphora in Historical, Theological and Practical Perspective. Mellen, 2005.
Interests & Projects
CURRENT PROJECTS …
The Birth of Lord Jesus Messiah: Infancy Christologies from the First to the Second Centuries CE. … in progress