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Baylor New Testament professor honored

Baylor New Testament professor honored

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Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of New Testament Interpretation in the department of religion at Baylor University, has been awarded the Burkitt Medal for Biblical Studies by The British Academy.

She is one of only a few Americans to receive this award, established nearly a century ago.

“The Burkitt Medal from The British Academy is one of the most significant recognitions ever bestowed upon a Baylor faculty member in the history of our university,” said Mikeal C. Parsons, Ph.D., professor and holder of The Kidd L. and Buna Hitchcock Macon Chair in Religion. “We are delighted that Dr. Gaventa’s lifetime achievements in scholarship, teaching and service have been recognized by this veritable institution.”

The award was established in 1923 by The British Academy, a fellowship of some 1,400 leading national and international academics elected for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences. 

Gaventa joined the Baylor faculty in 2013. She previously taught at Princeton Theological Seminary, Columbia Seminary and Colgate Rochester Divinity School.

“I am both astonished and deeply gratified by this award from The British Academy,” Gaventa said.

“The most straightforward thing to say is that I understand my pedagogical vocation as enabling students to be better readers,” she said. “As it happens, my text is Scripture, but what I do could apply to many other texts as well. I want students to slow down, to attend to the historical and literary and social context of Scripture and so to enlarge their capacity for comprehension.”

Gaventa is a past president of the Society of Biblical Literature, the largest professional organization of biblical scholars in the world. She also is a member of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, the Catholic Biblical Association, the Duodecim Theological Society and the American Theological Society.

She earned bachelor’s degrees in English and religion from Phillips University, her Master of Divinity in New Testament at Union Theological Seminary and her Ph.D. in religion from Duke University.

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