2014 News and Events

John R. Levison Appointed to Endowed Chair at Perkins School of Theology, SMU

Levison Appointed William Joseph Ambrose Power Professor of Biblical Hebrew and Old Testament Interpretation


July 22, 2014

Dallas, Texas – Professor John R. (Jack) Levison has accepted an invitation from Southern Methodist University to serve as William Joseph Ambrose Power Professor of Biblical Hebrew and Old Testament Interpretation, effective January 1, 2015. As a tenured full professor at Perkins School of Theology, Dr. Levison also will be a faculty member of the Graduate Program in Religious Studies, a cooperative venture by Perkins and the Department of Religious Studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at SMU.

Dr. Levison earned the Ph.D. in 1985 from Duke University, producing a dissertation titled “Adam in Major Authors of Early Judaism.” He earned the M.A. from Cambridge University (1980) and a B.A. from Wheaton College (1978). He comes to Perkins from Seattle Pacific University, where he has been professor of New Testament since 2001.

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Dr. John R. (Jack) Levison

Dr. Levison has authored nine books, including Inspired: the Holy Spirit and the Mind of Faith (2013), and Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life (2012), as well as numerous articles in professional journals, books, and reference works. A featured blogger for the Huffington Post, his articles have appeared in parade.com, relevant.com, beliefnet.com, and on Patheos, the world’s largest independent religious site, which hosts his column, spiritchatter. Dr. Levison has been awarded grants from the National Humanities Center, the Lilly Fellows Program, the Louisville Institute, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Rotary Foundation, the International Catacomb Society, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

In announcing the appointment, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Ludden said, “An appointment to an endowed position at SMU recognizes that a professor has achieved an extraordinary level of academic accomplishment. Dr. Jack Levison’s work and leadership exemplify the excellence of the University, and he is a most worthy recipient of this distinctive appointment.”

William B. Lawrence, dean of Perkins School of Theology, expressed gratitude to Provost Ludden for the appointment of Professor Levison to the W.J.A. Power Chair of Biblical Hebrew and Old Testament. “Jack Levison was selected from a large pool of highly-qualified candidates after a thorough nationwide search. He is an outstanding teacher with a distinguished record of achievement as a scholar in Old Testament Interpretation and in Biblical Hebrew,” Lawrence said. “Jack will enhance the mission of Perkins School of Theology as we seek to prepare women and men for effective leadership in the church, not only by his work in the classroom but also through his continuing scholarly contributions to theological research and reflection on the church’s faith, life, and mission in the world.”

The William Joseph Ambrose Power Chair of Biblical Hebrew and Old Testament Interpretation was established in 1991 through the generosity of the friends and former students of emeritus Professor Power. Dr. Levison becomes the third appointee to the W.J.A. Power Chair, following Dr. Power’s inaugural appointment to the chair named in his honor (1991), and Richard D. Nelson (2001-2014).

Dr. Levison and his wife, the Rev. Dr. Priscilla Pope-Levison, are the parents of two adult children. Their daughter Chloe lives in Austin. Their son Jeremy will be a first-year student at Seattle Pacific University in the fall.

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Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911 at Southern Methodist University, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, and Doctor of Ministry, as well as the Ph.D., which is offered as a cooperative venture by Perkins School of Theology and the Department of Religious Studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at SMU.