Iain Provan, Marshall Sheppard Professor of Biblical Studies, Regent College, Vancouver B.C.
Why do you love teaching and researching about the OT/HB?
As someone with a strong drive toward the integration of faith with life in all its dimensions, I enjoy exploring the ways in which OT Scripture “hangs together” coherently and speaks into the world of ideas and practice across a broad spectrum. I also enjoy communicating all of this to students. Many of my books, and much of my teaching, touch in different ways on the intersection of things – on the ways in which diverse truths add up to Truth.
What is one “big idea” in your scholarship?
I suppose that the big idea is this: in spite of the modern and post-modern “eclipse of biblical narrative,” it is still important and possible to read OT Scripture as the foundational section of an overarching, biblical metanarrative that provides the necessary basis for living our lives as God intended them to be lived. This involves among other things the integration of modern and postmodern truths, wherever these are to be found, into the larger Story in which they find their proper place.
Who is one of your academic heroes and why do you admire them?
Of all the people I admire, I’d like to mention one quite “unknown” person who played a very significant role in shaping my approach to matters of faith and intellect. His name is Dr. Richard Sturch, who taught me philosophy during my undergraduate theology degree, and who communicated to me (and modelled) a considerable amount about good and bad thinking.
What books were formative for you when you were a student? Why were they so important and shaping?
It’s a long time ago now, but I certainly remember reading as an undergraduate Jim Packer’s Knowing God, which taught me a lot of good theology while also modelling serious intellectual inquiry. But I am very poor at answering such questions, in general. I’m sure that there were many other shaping books (and I apologize to their authors for misplacing their names).
Read Provan’s Work
Seriously Dangerous Religion: What the Old Testament Really Says and Why It Matters
The Reformation and the Right Reading of Scripture
Follow Provan Online
If you ran into me at SBL, and you didn’t want to talk about OT/HB studies, what would you want to talk about?
I am a keen (avid) fly fisherman. I could talk to you for a long time about this topic.
What is a research/writing project you are working on right now that you are excited about?
I have just completed a project on biblical ethics, which I hope will be a great help to those who are convinced that the OT must function as active Scripture in respect of Christian ethics, but may be unclear about how to read it well in that pursuit. It will issue in a book during November 2020, entitled Seeking What is Right: The Old Testament and the Good Life (Baylor University Press).