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In Appreciation for the Works of Prof. Mark Elliott

David Rathel
Wednesday 22 February 2017

The St. Mary’s College community celebrated recently when Mark Elliott received the title Professor of Divinity. To express appreciation for him and his work, many St. Mary’s students and staff attended Prof. Elliott’s inaugural lecture. In the coming weeks, to honor Prof. Elliott for his achievement, we will offer posts that describe his contributions to the life of St. Mary’s College. We begin with this piece that introduces some of Prof. Elliott’s published works. It is written by Dr. Eric Covington, a student whom Prof. Elliott supervised.

On February 1, 2017, Mark W. Elliott, Professor of Divinity at the University of St Andrews, delivered his inaugural lecture as a professor entitled “Giving Providence a Chance.” The topic of the lecture—the notion of divine providence—is something that has been of particular interest in Prof Elliott’s recent research. While his publications range from the Patristic era to the Middle Ages and to the Reformation and all across the biblical canon, they all reflect a particular interest in biblical theology and the history of scriptural interpretation. Most recently, Prof Elliott has pursued both of these concentrations through the lens of the doctrine of providence.

Prof. Mark Elliott

His most recent monograph, Providence Perceived: Divine Action from a Human Point of View, Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte 124 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015), is an overview of significant historical works and interpretations concerning the doctrine of providence ranging from the Patristic era to works published since 2010. As such, it provides an account of the ebbs and flows of the doctrine in theological works spanning 2,000 years.

His previous volume, The Heart of Biblical Theology: Providence Experienced (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012) surveys both modern and ancient approaches to the task of biblical theology and offers the suggestion that the doctrine of providence might be a profitable way forward in the task of constructing a biblical theology. Also released in 2012 was Prof Elliott’s book, Engaging Leviticus: Reading Leviticus Theologically with its Past Interpreters (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2012). In this work, Prof Elliott surveys theological perspectives on the book of Leviticus from the first century to the twentieth.

In The Reality of Biblical Theology, Religions and Discourse 39 (Bern: Peter Lang, 2008) Prof Elliott examines different scholarly approaches to the question of the relationship between exegesis and dogmatics. This book pays particular attention to German scholarship and helpfully brings these discussions to light for an English speaking audience.

Prof Elliott’s first book, The Song of Songs and Christology in the Early Church, 381–451, Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum 7 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000; Reprinted: The Song of Songs and Christology in the Early Church, 381–451. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2011) is a published version of his Ph.D. thesis undertaken at the University of Cambridge. This work analyzes early Christian Christological interpretation of the Song of Songs and already reflects Prof Elliott’s particular interests in biblical theology and the history of scriptural interpretation.

In addition to these monographs, Prof Elliott has co-edited four books in the last ten years. Most recently published, Biblical Theology: Past, Present, and Future, edited with Carey Walsh (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2016) brings together a group of scholars who have examined particular aspects of biblical theology in a series of conference sessions at the International Society of Biblical Literature meetings from 2012–2014. Prof Elliott also contributed to the publications of volumes associated with the St Andrews conference on Scripture and Christian theology in 2009 and 2012. Papers from these two conferences were published as Galatians and Christian Theology: Justification, the Gospel, and Ethics in Paul’s Letter, edited with Scott J. Hafemann, N.T. Wright, and John Frederick (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014) and Genesis and Christian Theology, edited with Nathan MacDonald and Grant Macaskill (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2012). Prof Elliott has also edited Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Isaiah 40–66, Old Testament 11 (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007), which provides excerpts of commentaries and interpretive passages from Patristic writers concerning Isaiah 40–66.

Prof Elliott’s wide-ranging interests and expertise in the Bible, theology, and church history and his humble friendship and mentorship are an important part of the School of Divinity at the University of St Andrews and, in particular, the work of the Institute for Bible, Theology, & Hermeneutics (IBTH). We would like to extend sincere congratulations to Prof Mark W. Elliott on his inauguration to the post of Professor of Divinity, and we look forward to the continued results of his interests and research in the areas of divine providence, biblical theology, and the history of scriptural interpretation. —Dr. Eric Covington

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