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Blount, Brian K. 1956-

Blount, Brian K. 1956-

PERSONAL:

Born September 2, 1956; married; wife's name Sharon; children: Joshua, Kaylin. Education: College of William and Mary, B.A.; Princeton University, M.Div., 1981; Emory University, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of Biblical Studies, Princeton Theological Seminary, 110 Stockton St., Princeton, NJ 08542-0803; fax: 609-497-7829. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Academic and theologian. Ordained Presbyterian minister; Carver Presbyterian Church, Newport News, VA, pastor, 1982-88; Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ, Richard J. Dearborn Professor of New Testament, 1992—; Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian School of Christian Education, president, 2007—. Woodruff fellow, Emory University, 1988.

MEMBER:

Phi Beta Kappa, 1978; New Brunswick Presbytery Committee on Ministry, Society of Biblical Literature (chair of program committee).

AWARDS, HONORS:

Edler Garnet Hawkins Award, Princeton University, 1981, for scholastic excellence; distinguished alumnus award, Emory University Graduate Division of Religion, 2004.

WRITINGS:

Cultural Interpretation: Reorienting New Testament Criticism, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1995.

Go Preach! Mark's Kingdom Message and the Black Church Today, Orbis Books (Maryknoll, NY), 1998.

(Editor, with Leonora Tubbs Tisdale) Making Room at the Table: An Invitation to Multicultural Worship, Westminster John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 2000.

Then the Whisper Put on Flesh: New Testament Ethics in an African American Context, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN), 2001.

(With Gary W. Charles) Preaching Mark in Two Voices, Westminster John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 2002.

(With Walter Brueggemann and William C. Placher) Struggling with Scripture, Westminster John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 2002.

Can I Get a Witness? Reading Revelation through African American Culture, Westminster John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 2005.

(Editor, with others) True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Brian K. Blount is an academic and theologian. Blount undertook his academic and religious studies at the College of William and Mary, Princeton University, and Emory University. He worked as a Presbyterian pastor for six years before returning to academia. Eventually, he became the Richard J. Dearborn Professor of New Testament at the Princeton Theological Seminary.

Blount published his first book, Cultural Interpretation: Reorienting New Testament Criticism, in 1995. The book approaches the New Testament from the theoretical perspective that its interpretation was formed at the time it was written due to the social events of that time. Whitney Shiner, writing in Interpretation, said that the topics Blount discusses "are of great importance." Shiner concluded: "God's word undoubtedly addresses people in their own particular contexts, but a call for more contextually driven readings requires more careful consideration of ways to prevent social pre-understandings, whether political or academic, from silencing the word of God."

Blount published Then the Whisper Put on Flesh: New Testament Ethics in an African American Context in 2001. The book mixes three large areas of scholarship on Christianity, including biblical ethics, the methods, agenda, and approaches of cultural interpretation of the New Testament, and African American Christianity. His aim is to show the experience of Christians living in an oppressed environment to Christians who are not in an oppressive environment, in an attempt to challenge those Christians to see the religion from a completely different perspective. Vincent L. Wimbush, writing in Interpretation, found that the topics Blount covers in the book are "very important but enormously complicated. The challenges and pitfalls are many, and they are reflected in this book. But Blount has advanced the cause."

With Gary W. Charles, Blount published Preaching Mark in Two Voices in 2002. The intended audience for the book is other preachers who are looking for a more biblical approach to the existing scholarship on Mark and his writings. Bonnie Thurston, writing in Interpretation, called Preaching Mark in Two Voices "a fine and helpful volume." Thurston continued, saying: "The ‘two voices’ and the clear demonstration of how the same text ‘preaches differently’ in different contexts are particularly successful. That said, the radical inclusivity of Mark's Jesus shines forth clearly in both preachers' work as the essence of the evangelist's ‘good news.’ The inviting tone of the writing, the clear presentation of Markan scholarship, and the fine example of the sermons make this an interesting book to read, and one that I highly commend, especially to seminarians and preachers."

In 2005, Blount published Can I Get a Witness? Reading Revelation through African American Culture. Here Blount provides a scholarly approach to Revelation from an African American cultural perspective. Michael J. Gourman, writing in Interpretation, noted that "Blount's reading of Revelation is creative, illuminating, and generally compelling," adding that "the result is a series of fresh insights." Gourman concluded that "we can learn much from his approach and should eagerly await the forthcoming commentary to which these essays point." J. Nelson Kraybill, writing in the Christian Century, commented that "there is tension in Blount's book around the issue of how God's people respond when divine intervention does not liberate in the decisive way Daniel experienced …. Blount is right that Revelation anticipates that insurrection will play a part in bringing down empire. … But nowhere does John suggest that followers of Jesus will themselves take part in violence." Kraybill concluded: "While Blount's cultural-studies methodology sometimes strikes me as too loose, his book is a good addition to the plethora of historic and literary treatments of Revelation. His essay is something of a North American parallel to Allan Boesak's 1987 book Comfort and Protest, which interprets Revelation in the context of South African apartheid. Blount's reading of Revelation through African American eyes captures the prophetic power of John's message: the gospel gives marginalized followers of Jesus and other vulnerable people a voice and signals the eventual demise of all oppressive powers."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

America, March 6, 1999, review of Go Preach! Mark's Kingdom Message and the Black Church Today, p. 24.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly, October, 1997, Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, review of Cultural Interpretation: Reorienting New Testament Criticism, p. 762; January, 2003, James Chukwuma Okoye, review of Then the Whisper Put on Flesh: New Testament Ethics in an African American Context, p. 116.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October, 1998, D.W. Ferm, review of Go Preach!, p. 335.

Christian Century, October 3, 2006, J. Nelson Kraybill, "Revelation through the Centuries: The Apocalypse to Jesus Christ," review of Can I Get a Witness? Reading Revelation through African American Culture, p. 39.

Interpretation, October, 1997, Whitney Shiner, review of Cultural Interpretation, p. 436; January, 2003, Vincent L. Wimbush, review of Then the Whisper Put on Flesh, p. 88; January, 2004, Bonnie Thurston, review of Preaching Mark in Two Voices, p. 79; October, 2006, Michael J. Gorman, review of Can I Get a Witness?, p. 471.

Journal of Biblical Literature, fall, 2005, Danielle Brune Sisler, review of Can I Get a Witness?, p. 575.

Journal of Religion, January, 1998, Michael J. Brown, review of Cultural Interpretation, p. 105; April, 2006, Michael Joseph Brown, review of Can I Get a Witness?, p. 306.

Journal of Religious Thought, March 22, 1998, Lisa R.W. Sloan, review of Cultural Interpretation, p. 82.

Theology Today, April, 1997, Daniel Patte, review of Cultural Interpretation, p. 98; October, 2001, Karen B. Westerfield Tucker, review of Making Room at the Table: An Invitation to Multicultural Worship, p. 436; January, 2003, Pheme Perkins, review of Then the Whisper Put on Flesh, p. 626; January, 2006, Craig R. Koester, review of Can I Get a Witness?, p. 545.

ONLINE

Chicken Bones,http://www.nathanielturner.com/ (March 7, 2008), author profile.

Princeton Theological Seminary Web site,http://www.ptsem.edu/ (March 7, 2008), author profile.

Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian School of Christian Education Web site,http://www.union-psce.edu/ (March 7, 2008), author profile.

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