Trinity Western University Department of Religious Studies

Research, teaching, and events in Bible and Theology from the TWU Department of Religious Studies. Trinity Western University has one of the strongest and most respected Religious Studies departments in North America.

The faculty contains highly qualified professors, many of whom are recognized worldwide for their scholarship. Thanks to the the generosity of one of our donors, the library holdings for this department are also world class. The Religious Studies Department at TWU offers two graduate programs: Master of Arts in Biblical Studies - Graduate Certificate in Biblical Studies - The Religious Studies Department also offers four undergraduate programs: Biblical Studies - Christianity and Culture - Intercultural Studies - Religious Studies -

Mission: The mission of Trinity Western University, as an arm of the Church, is to develop godly Christian leaders: positive, goal-oriented university graduates with thoroughly Christian minds; growing disciples of Christ who glorify God through fulfilling the Great Commission, serving God and people in the various marketplaces of life.

Operating as usual

Christian Oxyrhynchus

Congratulations to current MA Biblical Studies student Matthew Hama on this thoughtful review of the latest insights from Oxyrhynchus in Reviews of Biblical and Early Christian Studies. 2016.09.27 | Lincoln H. Blumell and Thomas A. Wayment (eds.), Christian Oxyrhynchus: Texts, Documents, and Sources. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2015. ISBN 9781602585393. Review by Matthew J.…

In case you missed Trinity Western University Faculty and M.A. in Biblical Studies Alumni this past weekend at #SALAAR2017 in San Antonio, you could find a lot of us in the book exhibit. Congrats to all our home grown scholars for making such an impact on the guild with these and other publications over the past few years!

To learn more about making graduate studies in bible and theology part of your journey, click to

Congratulations to Dongshin Chang (Trinity Western University Alumni Association, MA Biblical Studies, 2005) on the publication of his first book, "Phinehas, the Sons of Zadok, and Melchizedek: Priestly Covenant in Late Second Temple Texts" (London: Bloomsbury Publishing USA T & T Clark, 2016).

For more on this publication and Donghin's ongoing teaching and research at Northwest Baptist Seminary, see:

Congratulations to TWU alum Matthew Thiessen on his recent appointment in Early Christianity in the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University!

After completing a M.A. in Biblical Studies at TWU, Thiessen continued his studies at Oxford University and Duke University. As indicated by his recent book publications and extensive bibliography of journal articles, Thiessen has an impressive research profile in the areas of ancient Jewish identity and conversion.

Congratulations to all of our Religious Studies majors/minors that walked the stage this past weekend. Thanks for making us part of your journey and best wishes for the road ahead!

This past weekend, friends, family, faculty, and staff celebrated our graduating students as they crossed the stage and received their degrees. We are so proud of all 490 students who put in so many hours of hard work. It is an honour to have you in the TWU community and we wish the best for your future. Congratulations, graduates!

Bible in one hand, newspaper in the other - Dylan @ LLC

Ever wondered where your major/minor in Religious Studies can take you? We've got you covered from the ancient Near East to our nation's capital today, and everywhere in between. Hear what Dylan Kelso had to say about the integration of his academic study of the bible, theology, and religion with a unique internship experience in Ottawa through the Laurentian Leadership Centre.

Religious Studies student Dylan Kelso talks about engaging scripture with world events at TWU's Laurentian Leadership Centre in Ottawa, ON. Apply today at ht...

[04/22/16]   Congratulations to Scott Reynolds ("The Messiah and Eschatology in the Psalms of Solomon”) and Kyle Parsons ("A Sanctuary in Time: Exploring Genesis 1’s Memory of Creation”) on their successful thesis defences this week! For those looking to learn more about their projects, abstracts will be posted on the M.A. Biblical Studies website shortly and digital copies submitted to the TWU Library.

A Master's in Biblical Studies - The key to defining our story

How does studying the bible and theology at the graduate level fit your personal and vocational goals?

Hear from MA in Biblical Studies students Hanna Lucas ('15) and Matt Hama ('17), as well as Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Dr. Andrew Perrin, about how TWU's MA in Biblical Studies can help prepare you for academics, ministry, and beyond.

We're still accepting applications for the 2016/17 academic year. See for information on program structure, application process, and funding opportunities.

Learn more about the MA in Biblical Studies: Hear from MA in Biblical Studies students Hanna Lucas ('15) and Matt Hama ('17), as w...

Trinity Western University Department of Religious Studies's cover photo

Trinity Western University Department of Religious Studies

We're glad to host students, faculty, and friends from the Vancouver area back to the TWU campus for the Vancouver Biblical Colloquium!

Join us for the spring meeting of the West Coast Biblical Colloquium, featuring a presentation by Dr. Andrew Perrin on "The Coordinates of Agency and Constructs of Authority in the Dream Narratives of the Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls," with a response by Dr. Iaian Provan (Regent College). The event will take place on Thursday, April 14 at 7:00pm in the Board of Governors hall at Trinity Western University. Since the paper will be summarized and discussed, a draft of the study may be read in advance at

The Jesus Blog

Anthony Le Donne (Ph.D. Durham), who complete both his B.A. (1999) and M.A. (2001) at TWU, is one of the masterminds behind the creation of a highly informative blog site that has surpassed 1,000,000 page views. The Jesus Blog hosts conversations about historical Jesus research, New Testament studies, and popular culture. Their contributors range from European to North American, Catholic to Protestant, theist to agnostic, conservative to liberal. This site is addictive. You can find it at

Congratulations are extended to Marvin Miller, Ph.D., one of our own MA grads, for the publication of his book Performances of Ancient Jewish Letters from Elephantine to the MMT (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015).

Appreciation goes out to all of those who presented and attended the recent symposium on the function of scripture in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Most of the papers were presented by our MA alumni who have gone on to complete their doctoral degrees. The evening was very well attended, highly informative, and welcoming. The attached pic is of the Great Isaiah Scroll.

Trinity Western University

Professor Andrew Perrin has been given an international award for his first book! Perrin is recognized for his work The Dynamics of Dream-Vision Revelation in the Aramaic Dead Sea Scroll.

You can learn more about the ideas in his book at the upcoming Dead Sea Scrolls event on February 23.

Join us for an evening event celebrating recent faculty and MA Biblical Studies Alunni publications in Qumran studies!

For more information on our graduate program, see

Join us for a free event on “Re-Imagining the Scriptural Past in the Dead Sea Scrolls” (see also event invite below)

When: February 23, 2016 (7:00-9:00pm)

Where: Trinity Western University (Northwest Auditorium)

Cost: Free, RSVP online to hold a place:

Overview: The Dead Sea Scrolls provide fresh perspective on both the words of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and ancient Jewish world of the New Testament. As the library of a specialized Jewish scribal community, they also reveal how ancient people and communities rendered their religious traditions relevant to their own culture. Many readers of the Bible today face this same task: scripture is at once ancient and sacred, yet its contemporary relevance is not always evident. Through presentations and discussions with four TWU alumni and authors of recently published books on the Dead Sea Scrolls, our evening will explore how the group that penned and preserved the scrolls navigated this dynamic in their own search for meaning.

Join authors Dr. Andrew Perrin, Dr. Kipp Davis, Dr. Marvin Miller, and Dr. Dongshin Chang as they detail how ancient writers encountered and innovated the biblical past by extending prophecy, claiming revelatory dreams, rethinking covenant theology, and crafting and circulating letters. In view of his recently published introduction to the scrolls, Dr. Flint will speak on the relevance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for the Bible, theology, Christianity, and how they illumine our own past.

This event is jointly sponsored by the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute, Trinity Western University Alumni Association, and Canada Research Chair in Dead Sea Scrolls Studies.

For those of you who are interested in Roman archaeology, a frecso dated to 100 CE was recently unearthed in the City of London, below street level. This may be the earliest Roman frescos found in the UK. For an interesting read, see

Our second annual Graduate Student Biblical Studies Symposium convened on Friday, January 15, 2016. Students shared their ongoing research on a variety of topics and enjoyed dialogue on future directions with peers and faculty. The titles and presenters of the program are included below. Special thanks to Ryan Blackwelder and David Sigrist for organizing this year's gathering.

Jonathan Riley "Political and Moral Blindness: The Levites Concubine and the Rise of Saul"

Brian Baucom "Elissaie revivens: Variations of the Account of Elissaie's Resurrection of the Shunamite's Son in the Lucianic and Vaticanus Texts"

James Magee "Romanticizing Childhood and Feminizing the Boy Jesus in the Silent Cinema"

Glenn Collins "Theology: A Dynamic Systems Approach"

Renzi a Pompei: "Ammirato da questa bellezza esplosiva, l'Italia può tornare a essere un faro"

Christmas in Italy unveils a few more rooms in Pompeii. If any of you are interested in first-century Roman life or are fascinated by the discoveries at Pompeii, you need to look at the photos in this article: La visita del premier negli scavi. "Qui non è la storia dei crolli, ma dei restauri"

We would like to congratulate David Herbison for a successful MA thesis defence, entitled, "Reconstructing the Text of the Church: The ‘Canonical Text’ and the Goal of New Testament Textual Criticism.” David was supervised by Dr. Kent Clarke. David’s abstract reads: Over the last several decades, a number of scholars have raised questions about the feasibility of achieving New Testament textual criticism’s traditional goal of establishing the “original text” of the New Testament documents. In light of these questions, several alternative goals have been proposed. Among these is a proposal that was made by Brevard Childs, arguing that text critics should go about reconstructing the “canonical text” of the New Testament rather than the “original text.” However, concepts of “canon” have generally been limited to discussions of which books were included or excluded from a list of authoritative writings, not necessarily the specific textual readings within those writings. Therefore, any proposal that seeks to apply notions of “canon” to the goals and methods of textual criticism warrants further investigation. This thesis evaluates Childs’ proposal by asking two overarching questions. First, is there historical evidence that supports the existence of a “canonical text” of the New Testament as a lost artifact, and therefore a valid object of historical reconstruction? Second, if such evidence exists, should modern text critics and exegetes prefer this textform to more traditional reconstructions? This study concludes that there is little evidence to support the existence of a lost “canonical text” of the New Testament, and that even if one assumes the existence of such a text, there are good reasons for continuing to prefer more traditional reconstructions.

We want to congratulate Dr. Fred Tappenden, a TWU MA alum, for recently giving a thought provoking paper at SBL in Atlanta. The title of his paper was “Embodying Resurrection: The Realism of Metaphor in Paul’s Somatic Ideals.” In his paper Fred utilizes conceptual metaphor and blending theory in an effort to draw together conceptual strands in Paul’s resurrection ideals that are usually treated as distinct (even disparate). Fred focus on Romans 6–8 and gives specific attention to (a) the body’s role in shaping, constructing, and grounding Paul’s eschatological outlook, (b) the conceptual metaphors at work in Paul’s transformation ideals, and (c) the attendant implications of resurrection metaphors for Paul’s understanding of life en Christō. In the end, Fred argues that metaphor and realism interlace in Paul’s ideals, and further that the apostle understands resurrection as a dynamic process of transformation in which human bodies engage. #resurrection #PaulineStudies
The attached late 4th c. image from a catacomb in Rome may be the earliest representation of Paul.

Congratulations David Sigrist on presenting two well-received papers at SBL on ancient languages. David, who has recently completed our MA program in BibStuds, entitled his first paper “Overcoming Obstacles: Exploring Proposed Technological Solutions for Perceived Problems with Ancient Language Learning through Communicative Methods.” In this paper, David critiques traditional approaches to learning ancient languages and proposes more immersive and experiential methods through the help of new technology. His second paper was entitled “Some Noteworthy Linguistic Features in Septuagint Genesis” and examines how LXX Genesis displays a diverse range of interesting decisions by its translator in the representation of the meaning of its underlying Semitic source text.
The attached image (Abraham and the angel) is a folio from the so-called “Cotton Genesis,” a 4-5th century illuminated ms of Genesis.

Last evening four RELS faculty attended the West Coast Biblical Colloquium at UBC where Prof. Harry Maier (Vancouver School of Theology) presented an outstanding paper entitled, “Seeing the Blood of God: The Strange Case of Ignatius of Antioch the God-Bearer.” Looking at the suffering body of Ignatius (traditionally identified as the bishop of Antioch who died ca 113 CE) in a slightly different direction from that usually followed in scholarship, Maier’s aim is to show how evocative description belongs to a strategy to make God visible through linking Ignatius’ own identity with the sufferings of Christ. Ignatius used such vividness to polemicize against docetic opponents. The essay thus seeks to show how early Christ followers used graphic speech in the service of establishing religious identities and marking communal boundaries. Dr. Brook Pearson, a TWU alum and now teaching at UBC, offered a thoughtful response. #Ignatius

This coming weekend many of our faculty and graduate students will be attending the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Atlanta Georgia. This is a great opportunity for our current graduate students to connect with potential doctoral supervisors in major universities from around the world. One presenter from our faculty is Dr. Andrew Perrin, who will be presenting a paper on "Dream-Vision Discourse in the Book of Daniel and Ancient Jewish Aramaic Literature among the Qumran Library," in the Book of Daniel session.


"The dream-vision episodes and interpretations that pervade the book of Daniel impact or inform almost every aspect of the composition (e.g., plot, characterization, genre, theological outlook). Daniel’s stature as a dreamer and oneirocritical profile, however, find little resonance in other writings of the Hebrew Scriptures. In search of a better interpretive context for the Danielic dream-vision tradition, the present study plots the book within a constellation of some twenty mid-Second Temple period Aramaic writings among the Dead Sea Scrolls, which exhibit an equally strong penchant for this form of revelation. Using Hindy Najman’s work on discourses linked to central figures in scriptural traditions and Carol Newsom’s work on the discourse of “apocalyptic scribalism,” this paper illumines how the dream-vision provided a way of shifting epistemological boundaries and strategically pressing the tradition in fresh directions through claims to special revelation in Daniel and these roughly contemporary writings."


Congratulations to our eight graduates of the M.A. Biblical Studies program, who celebrated the completion of their studies on November 7th, 2015, with our very own Hanna Lucas as the valedictorian for the School of Graduate Studies class of 2015.

Interested in joining us for graduate studies in Old Testament, New Testament, Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, or Theology? Click over to for more information or contact us about connecting at the upcoming meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Atlanta.

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Seal Kap House, Trinity Western University, 7600 Glover Road
Langley, BC

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Monday 08:00 - 15:30
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