#50-2-Follow: 50 NT Scholars to Read and Follow—Mariam Kamell Kovalishyn

#50-2-Follow: 50 NT Scholars to Read and Follow—Mariam Kamell Kovalishyn February 22, 2020

This blog series spotlights 50 NT scholars and their research. The goal of this series is to introduce readers to a wider circle of scholarship than they have encountered before. The majority of people on this list are early or mid-career NT scholars who are doing great research and writing. 


Mariam Kamell Kovalishyn

Assistant Professor, New Testament Studies

Explain why you love teaching and/or writing, and why it brings you vocational satisfaction.

I love teaching because I get the opportunity to invite students to fall in love with the Bible. Whether it’s introductory Exegesis or New Testament Foundations, or an advanced seminar or book study, I get to help students pay attention to what the text actually says, rather than just reacting to it. It’s an unexpected delight when students tell me after a class that they were afraid of or angry at their Bibles (or more realistically, what they’ve been told is there), and now they’ve found a new welcome and invitation to hear from God in the Word. I also love inviting them in to some of the lesser-read parts (ahem, Catholic Epistles, anyone?)! Teaching is, to me, a delight, an honor, and a privilege — and writing is an extension of that, a way to think about teaching to a broader audience, although I prefer the face-to-face dialogue of the classroom!

What is one “big idea,” emphasis, or theme in your scholarship that you hope impacts the way students and scholars read and understand the NT?

The Bible, as J.I. Packer puts it, invites us into friendship with God, and what that looks like is becoming Christlike, taking on the character of our God. James depicts it as becoming “whole” (in contrast with being double-minded and in love with the world), but what he depicts through that epistle (see also 1 John) is an enactment of what it means to “Love God” and “Love your neighbor” — friendship with God means growth in holiness and in justice both, shaping our lives to the very character of God (cf. Deut 10:12-20).

Who is your academic hero and why?

Richard Bauckham—brilliant scholar, but always deeply involved in his local church (and my doktorvater!)
N.T. Wright, again because of his concern to use his scholarship for the laity.

Name a few academic books that were formative for you as a student.

Richard Bauckham, James: Wisdom of James, Disciple of Jesus the Sage
Elsa Tamez, The Scandalous Message of James
George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament

 Read Kovalishyn’s Books

co-written with Craig Blomberg: Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: James
contributed on JAMES to The State of New Testament Studies
Follow Kovalishyn’s Work ONLINE

If you ran into me at SBL, and you didn’t want to talk about New Testament studies, what would you want to talk about?

Hiking and backpacking (or car camping these days with littles!); favorite fantasy authors and books; amusing toddler conversations!

What is a research/writing project you are working on right now that you are excited about?

In the works (belatedly but finally!) are two books: one is a Biblical Theology of Social Justice (Zondervan), and the other is the Story of God Commentary on James (also Zondervan).

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