Chris Beetham, Ph.D. 2005

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Chris BeethamRecipient of the Eugene and Margaret Logan Fellowship

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies 
Evangelical Theological College; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Assistant Professor of New Testament 
Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 

My dissertation was entitled, "Echoes of Scripture in the Letter of Paul to the Colossians" (Brill Publishers) supervised by Dr. G. K. Beale. In the dissertation, I attempt to plow new ground in definitions and methodology in the search for allusions and echoes of the Old Testament in the New, applying my approach to Paul's letter to the Colossians. I argue that Paul echoed or alluded to the OT in his letter eleven times, and seek to explain how the presence of each OT allusion or echo functions in its new context. The overall ramifications of the investigation are also suggestive. First, Paul hits repeatedly upon the theme of new creation in his letter. Second, the "philosophy" ( Col 2:8) that Paul attacks appears to be a strand of Hellenistic Judaism that emphasized wisdom and ascetic rigor for apocalyptic and ecstatic visionary heavenly ascent. In Paul's opinion, this teaching dangerously diverted attention from the preeminence and supremacy of Christ and therefore from faithfulness to him.

Why did I apply to the Wheaton Ph.D. program? Dissatisfied with the increasingly atomistic specialization within biblical studies, as well as with the discipline's overall refusal to help and serve the Church with all its urgent needs, I found Wheaton's program in Biblical Theology to be a breath of fresh air. Wheaton's program has been intentionally created to be done by those within the Church, for the Church. The combination of excellent faculty, immediate dissertation research, choice seminars, and the opportunity to work closely with a seasoned personal mentor, makes for an incredible program that can still be finished in three years. Further, the program intentionally emphasizes synthesis of disciplines (e.g., seeking to relate the two testaments), yet remains rigorous (forcing students not only to know their own discipline, but also to do work outside their stated area of expertise).

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