Via Canticle Communications

Church Divinity School of the Pacific has named a Colombian-born scholar with a special interest in how biblical texts have been used to provoke and justify violence as assistant professor of Old Testament.

Julián Andrés González Holguín, who is finishing his PhD at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, will take up a joint appointment at CDSP and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in the fall, the Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, the seminary’s dean and president, announced May 5.

“Julián González offers a fresh new voice in the world of scholarship and teaching in the context of theological education,” Richardson said. “We were impressed with his capacity to communicate some of the going concerns in Old Testament scholarship today.

“Julián, a native of Colombia, will bring new cultural awarenesses to bear in our community,” Richardson added. “He is very integrative in his approach to studies in sacred texts, looking for contemporary analogies to the experience of God in the ancient Middle East. It is a hermeneutic of lively immediacy that will bring new insight from scriptural studies.”

González, a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, received his master of divinity from George W. Truett Seminary at Baylor University in 2010. He had previously earned a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Cali, Colombia, in 2006 and worked as a software engineer for Shell Oil in Colombia.

“Julián González will make a wonderful addition to CDSP and PLTS as well as the GTU,” said the Rev. Alicia Vargas, interim dean and associate professor of multicultural and contextual studies at PLTS. “He is a Hispanic Theological Initiative scholar and comes deeply committed to the multicultural study and teaching of the biblical text. He is ready to come to Berkeley and share his exceptional teaching skills and sharp biblical scholarship with PLTS and CDSP students. We await his arrival in the fall with happy anticipation.”

González said he came by his interest in the rhetoric of violence through experience. “My country has been in violence since the late 1940s and early 1950s,” he said. “I have had experiences myself that have led to an interest in looking at the texts of violence in the Bible and how we interpret them, how we deal with them and how we use them nowadays.

“Biblical interpretation is never ideologically neutral. Neither is the Bible a static artifact, but rather it is a discursive object that is continually recreated and reflected by each receiving community in its own time and place.”

González will begin teaching at the seminaries in August.

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