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Choon-Leong Seow

Vanderbilt, Buffington, Cupples Chair in Divinity
Distinguished Professor of Hebrew Bible

Dr. Seow first came to the United States for college (at Pepperdine University) and later received an MDiv degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization from Harvard University, where the eminent Frank Moore Cross was his teacher and dissertation adviser.

Dr. Seow taught for over three decades at Princeton Theological Seminary, the last two as the Henry Snyder Gehman Professor of Old Testament Language and Literature, with brief stints at Harvard, the Jewish Theological Seminaries, and at various institutions in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Africa. Dr. Seow has been the NEH/ASOR Fellow, W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem (1986), recipient of the Mitchell Dahood Memorial Prize in Northwest Semitic Philology (1989), Henry Winters Luce III Fellowship in Theology (1997), National Endowment for the Humanity Faculty Research Fellowship (2007), and he was admitted as a member of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton in 1997.

Dr. Seow’s latest book-length publication is Job 1-21, the first installment of a two-volume commentary. This book best represents the kind of scholarship he most enjoys and how he sees himself contributing to biblical scholarship. The emphasis therein on philology, the ancient Near Eastern, and theology will not come as a surprise to anyone who knows his work, particularly Ecclesiastes in the Anchor Bible (1997). Yet the Job commentary goes beyond his earlier writings in a number of ways, most notably in its focus on poetry and especially in its incorporation of the “history of consequences.” This is the first Job commentary to draw upon Jewish, Christian, and Muslim interpretations, along with non-confessional engagements of Job in exegetical works, as well as in literature, and the visual and performing arts. Dr. Seow ventured far beyond his ken to do research in the history of Christianity, Jewish Studies, Islamic studies, comparative literature, and art history and music. 

Dr. Seow anticipates his interdisciplinary approach to biblical exegesis will continue for years to come, not least because of his role as the general editor in the Illuminations commentary series published by Eerdmans. In particular, he will be working more and more in Genesis and the Psalms, and is contracted to write the Daniel volume in the Illuminations series, which will allow him to explore the book and its consequences than he had been able to do in previous publications.