Letter from Dr. Matthew Suriano in Support of Chris Rollston

I received the following letter from Dr. Matthew J. Suriano of The University of Maryland, which I am posting below. I have added the letter to Dr. Rollston’s list of public supporters here.

Dr. Matthew J. Suriano

Dr. Matthew J. Suriano

Dear President Sweeney and Dean Holland,

I add my voice to those of my colleagues in asking that you halt the termination proceedings for Professor Christopher Rollston, Toyozo W. Nakarai Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Studies, at Emmanuel Christian Seminary.  Prof. Rollston is one of the most prominent Semitic epigraphers in our field, and his contributions are considerable.  Therefore, I should think that his services to your seminary be held in the proper esteem.  Indeed, I find your treatment of this scholar inappropriate, and moreover, unfitting for an institution that recently added “Christian Seminary” to its name.  I feel that such a name change would bring with it a sense of duty to operate with a higher standard of ethics that bear witness to the institution’s purpose.  Instead, the situation is such that I must write this letter to you protesting the unethical treatment of a member of your faculty.  Even more disturbing is the fact that Professor Rollston has done nothing that contradicts the basic tenets of Christianity.  I state this because it seems that the controversy you have created has little to do with higher education inside the confines of a confessional institution.  To the contrary, the situation is nothing more than the suppression of intellectual freedom for reasons that are less than academic.

I urge you to reverse these actions against Professor Rollston.  It should be clear to you that the very integrity of your seminary is at stake in this matter.


Matthew J. Suriano
Assistant Professor
The Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies
University of Maryland

lecture series at uchicago divinity school: the matter of israelite religion

University of ChicagoDon’t miss this excellent lecture series at the University of Chicago Divinity School entitled, “The Matter of Israelite Religion.” The four-part lecture series, cosponsored by the Chicago Center for Jewish Studies:

“will highlight recent material finds relevant to, and theoretical advances in, the study of ancient Israelite religion, with implications for biblical literature and ideas.”

The lectures are scheduled as follows:

Dr. Jonathan Klawans (Boston University): “Symbol, Function, Theology and Morality: On Rules and Rituals in the Priestly Literature of the Hebrew Bible”
4:30 p.m., Swift Common Room (1st floor)

Jonathan Klawans (Religion, Boston University), specialist in the religion and religious literature of ancient Judaism, on “Symbol, Function, Theology and Morality: On Rules and Rituals in the Priestly Literature of the Hebrew Bible.” Klawans teaches courses in Western Religion, the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient Jewish history, and Rabbinic literature. He is the author of Impurity and Sin in Ancient Judaism (Oxford University Press, 2000) and Purity Sacrifice and the Temple: Symbolism and Supersessionism in the Study of Ancient Judaism (Oxford University Press, 2005), as well as numerous articles. His current research project focuses on the theological views of Josephus and the ancient Jewish sects (Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes).

Dr. Matthew Suriano (University of Maryland): “Death in the Kingdom of Judah: The social process of dying and the ritual context of the dead”
4:30 p.m., Swift Hall Common Room (1st floor)

Matthew Suriano, University of Maryland, speaking on “Death in the Kingdom of Judah: The social process of dying and the ritual context of the dead.”  Matthew Suriano, Assistant Professor in the Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland, was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago and studied history as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He began his graduate studies in Israel, first at Jerusalem University College and later at the Hebrew University. His Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and Northwest Semitics is from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles. Matthew has participated on several archaeological excavations and has been a fellow at the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem. He is currently a member of the Tel Burna Archaeological Project.

Dr. Jeremy Hutton (University of Wisconsin-Madison): “Upon the Roof of the Temple: Reconstructing the Phenomenology of Altar Usage from Archaeological and Textual Remains”
4:30 p.m., Classics 110

Jeremy Hutton, University of Wisconsin-Madison, speaking on “Upon the Roof of the Temple: Reconstructing the Phenomenology of Altar Usage from Archaeological and Textual Remains.” Hutton is Assistant Professor of Classical Hebrew Language and Biblical Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of The Transjordanian Palimpsest: The Overwritten Texts of Personal Exile and Transformation in the Deuteronomistic History (deGruyter, 2009), along with many additional articles.

Dr. Nili Sacher Fox (Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion): “Fashion vs. Ideology: Biblical Laws Pertaining to Israelite Dress”
4:30 p.m., Swift Hall Common Room (1st floor)

Nili Sacher Fox, Professor of Bible and Director of the School of Graduate Studies at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio, on “Fashion vs. Ideology: Biblical Laws Pertaining to Israelite Dress.” Fox holds a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Fox teaches Bible, Archaeology, Ancient History and Languages, and is co-director of the Graduate Summer-in-Israel Program. She has written on various topics relating to the history and culture of ancient Israel, including: In the Service of the King: Officialdom in Ancient Israel and Judah and Mishneh Todah: Studies in Deuteronomy and Its Cultural Environment in Honor of Jeffrey Tigay. Currently she is working on a monograph entitled “On the Ancient Catwalk: Dress and Identity in the Biblical World.”

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