Joel B. Kemp

Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible
Joel B. Kemp
Phone: 404.727.2883
    • PhD, Boston College, 2017
    • MDiv, Andover Newton Theological School, 2010
    • JD, Harvard Law School, 2000
    • BA, Harvard College, 1997

    On research leave for the 2023-24 academic year.

    Before joining the Candler faculty, Dr. Joel B. Kemp served as assistant professor of theology at the University of Scranton. His research interests in biblical studies include the Old Testament, especially the latter prophets, biblical law, and the history of Judah and identity development. His additional scholarly pursuits include African-American appropriations of Scripture, the relationship between race, religion, and law within American society, and the use of the Bible in popular culture. He worked as both an attorney and a minister before pursuing graduate theological studies.

    His book, Ezekiel, Law, and Judahite Identity (Mohr Siebeck, 2020), investigates how the book of Ezekiel uses legal elements to advocate for the reconfiguration of a Judahite identity under Neo-Babylonian dominance. Other research interests include analyzing how prophetic texts and Second Temple texts were a resource to define and fortify a community, and examining the reception history of certain biblical texts in African-American contexts, informing discussions of racial identity, social justice, and political/legal equality in contemporary American discourse.

    Kemp is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, where he sits on the steering committee for "Theological Perspectives on the Book of Ezekiel," and is a full member of the Catholic Biblical Association of America.

    Selected Publications


      Ezekiel, Law, and Judahite Identity: A Case for Identity in Ezekiel 1–33 Mohr Siebeck, 2020

      Chapters and Articles

      American Values, Religious Voices: Letters of Hope from People of Faith, Volume 2 edited by Andrea Weiss and Lisa Weinberger (University of Cincinnati Press, 2023).

      Christmas Eve: Nativity of Our Lord: Commentary on Isaiah 9:2 – 7, Working Preacher, Dec 2022

      First Sunday of Advent: Commentary, on Isaiah 2:1 – 5 Working Preacher, Nov 2022

      "Racializing Cain Demonizing Blackness & Legalizing Discrimination: Proposal for Reception of Cain and America’s Racial Caste System” Perspectives in Religious Studies 48/4 (2021): 377 – 399. 

      "Renounced and Abandoned: The Legal Meaning of עזב in Ezek 8:12 and 9:9." Catholic Biblical Quarterly, vol. 79, no. 4 (2017): 593-614.

      Selected Awards

      Louisville Institute Sabbatical Grant for Researchers, 2023

      Outstanding Service to the Candler Community by a Faculty Member, 2023

      Teresa Fry Brown Award, 2023

      The Provost’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Education, 2023

      Inductee, Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars (Morehouse College), 2022

      Recipient of Forum for Theological Exploration Doctoral Fellowship, 2015

      Recipient of Boston College Sixth Year Dissertation Completion Fellowship (Declined), 2015

      Recipient of Best Student Paper Award for NE/EC 2014 Regional Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, 2014

      Recipient of Rabbi Murray I. Rothman Award, Andover Newton Theological School, 2010

      Recipient of Presidential Scholarship, Andover Newton Theological School, 2006 - 2009

      Inducted into Jonathan Edwards Society, Andover Newton Theological School, 2009

      Inaugural CIRCLE Fellow, Andover Newton Theological School, 2008

      Recipient of Faculty of Arts and Sciences Scholarship, Harvard College, 1994-1995

      Recipient of R. K. Mellon Foundation Scholarship, 1993-1997

      Candler Black Excellence: Introducing Joel B. Kemp: Pursuing a Call to the Academy, March 26, 2021