Greer Dedicates Year-Long Sabbatical to Writing and Leading Study Tours


by Kristina Garvelink (M.S. ’15)

Approved for sabbatical leave during the 2018-19 academic year, Dr. Jonathan Greer, associate professor of Old Testament at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, has traded his usual classroom setting for an ambitious agenda of scholarly activities. This includes writing articles on archaeology, co-authoring a book manuscript with his wife, completing research for an academic monograph and leading two study tours in the Holy Land.

"The first larger project is completing a manuscript entitled 'How to Read the Bible in Its World and Why It Matters for Ours' for Baker Academic," Greer said. "Co-written with my wife, Jennifer, adjunct professor of Bible, this book will provide an accessible introduction to backgrounds studies for the Bible and why such contexts matter for interpretation.

"The second project involves initial research that explores archaeological reflexes of priestly ritual in northern and southern contexts of ancient Israel, with an eye toward understanding the composition of the Priestly texts of the Pentateuch. I am doubtful I will finish this before the year is over, but it has been good to develop the larger structure for the work."

At Cornerstone University, sabbatical leave of one semester may be granted to a full-time faculty member once every seven years for study, research or professional development activities. The competitive application process includes a written proposal, summary of proposed activities and list of anticipated outcomes. Greer was permitted to stretch his sabbatical for the entire academic year while maintaining teaching responsibilities for three courses during that time period.

With writing and in-depth research projects marking the first-half of his sabbatical, Greer looks forward to beginning the new year with two trips to the Middle East.

"My teaching responsibilities include leading GRTS' study tour course through Israel, Palestine and Jordan with Jennifer in January," Greer noted. "Jennifer and I will also have the opportunity to lead a trip with GTI Tours in the spring, visiting Egypt, Jordan, Palestine and Israel. These trips provide opportunities for us to work together, which we value deeply, and to do what we love: teach the Bible in its world."