David L. Petersen, associate dean of faculty and academic affairs and Franklin N. Parker Professor of Old Testament, will retire at the end of the 2012–2013 academic term, capping off a decade of service to Candler and a 40-year career in theological education.
At a reception in his honor, fellow Old Testament professor Joel LeMon praised Petersen for his exacting editing and disciplined, methodical approach, and colleague Rex Matthews praised his wise and principled leadership, saying Petersen was someone people trusted to make good decisions, “even—or perhaps especially—when they were hard decisions.” Dean Jan Love extolled Petersen’s administrative acumen and good humor, noting that both have benefited Candler during his 10 years on the faculty.
The author or editor of twenty books and more than seventy articles, chapters, and major dictionary entries, Petersen has plied his editing expertise most recently as the convener of the translation board and the Old Testament editor of the Common English Bible, published in 2011. He has served on boards of directors and editorial boards for numerous organizations and scholarly journals over the course of his career, and was president of the Society of Biblical Literature in 2004—an honor Petersen counts as one of his most significant professional accomplishments.
Petersen is a consummate scholar-teacher, praised by peers and students alike. He was awarded the university’s Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award in 2007, and twice was voted “Professor of the Year” by Candler students. Equally adept at constructing critical scholarship and explaining it to a wide audience, he considers himself fortunate to have been involved in two distinct types of publications during his career: scholarly volumes intended for students, pastors, and academics, and other works intended to make the Bible more accessible to general readers.
Known for his pedagogical penchant for linking his two loves—fly fishing and the Old Testament—in class demonstrations in Rudolph Courtyard, Petersen will pursue angling in earnest at the conclusion of his sabbatical next year.
For an expanded interview with David Petersen, click here.