Carr, David McLain 1961-
Carr, David McLain 1961-
Born 1961. Education: Carleton College, B.A., 1980; Candler School of Theology, M.T.S., 1983; Claremont Graduate University, M.A., Ph.D., 1988.
Methodist Theological School, Delaware, OH, from assistant to full professor, 1988-99, Williams Chair in Biblical Interpretation, 1998; Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY, professor of the Old Testament, 1999—.
Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, 1993-94; Young Scholars Theological Fellowship, Association of Theological Schools, 1993-94.
From D to Q: A Study of Early Jewish Interpretations of Solomon's Dream at Gibeon, Scholars Press (Atlanta, GA), 1991.
(Editor, with Richard D. Weis) A Gift of God in Due Season: Essays on Scripture and Community in Honor of James A. Sanders, Sheffield Academic Press (Sheffield, England), 1996.
Reading the Fractures of Genesis: Historical and Literary Approaches, Westminster John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 1996.
The Erotic Word: Sexuality, Spirituality, and the Bible, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Writing on the Tablet of the Heart: Origins of Scripture and Literature, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Editorial board member and American cochair, International Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament, 2005—.
Born in 1961, David McLain Carr attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, receiving a B.A. in philosophy in 1980. He received his M.T.S from the Chandler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1983, then went to Claremont Graduate University in California, where he earned both his M.A. and his Ph.D. in religion in 1988. He specialized in Old Testament studies and became a professor of Old Testament at the Methodist Theological School in Delaware, Ohio, then at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Carr's teaching and research interests include how the Bible was constructed, the formation of scripture in Christian and Jewish traditions, literary versus historical approaches to the Bible, and the role of gender and sex in biblical tradition.
Carr explores this last subject in The Erotic Word: Sexuality, Spirituality, and the Bible. In it he examines the role of sexuality in a spiritual life. He defines "eros" as the fundamental longing for connection with God that is expressed in erotic passion and the pleasure of sexual union and contends that human beings' primary work is passionate love. Carr uses references to readings and personal experiences, and places attitudes about passion, love, and sex in the context of history and culture. His meditations range across the subjects of love, desire, sex, marriage, divorce, the spirit, and relationships between genders. Kyoko Mori, reviewing The Erotic Word for the Dove Booksellers Web site, observed: "David Carr shows us how we can read the Bible as literature meant to challenge and empower us." Also quoted on the site were Judith Plaskow, who called the book a "lucid, fresh, and learned study," and Marcus J. Borg, who considered it "a remarkable combination of readability and scholarship."
In Writing on the Tablet of the Heart: Origins of Scripture and Literature, Carr suggests that ancient texts such as the Gilgamesh epic, the Iliad, and the Bible were originally written for educational purposes, as a way to preserve honored oral traditions. He examines the traditions of many ancient cultures that encouraged an elite group of students to memorize sacred teachings. Carr uses comparative texts from Mesopotamia, Greece, and Egypt and the cultural teachings of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, among others, to make his point. James L. Crenshaw commented on the Oxford University Press Web site that Writing on the Tablet of the Heart is a "stimulating analysis of classical religious texts." On the same site, Steven D. Fraade called it "fresh and highly readable," and William Schniedewind said it is a "well-written and carefully researched book [that] deserves to be a standard work for anyone interested in the Bible."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Catholic Biblical Quarterly, July 1, 1993, E. Theodore Mullen, Jr., review of From D to Q: A Study of Early Jewish Interpretations of Solomon's Dream at Gibeon, p. 533.
Journal of Biblical Literature, December 22, 1992, Steven L. McKenzie, review of From D to Q, p. 704.
Journal of Religion, January 1, 1994, Mark Brettler, review of From D to Q, p. 119.
Reference & Research Book News, February 1, 2003, review of The Erotic Word: Sexuality, Spirituality, and the Bible, p. 19.
About.com: Agnosticism/Atheism,http://atheism.about.com/ (May 14, 2008) review of The Erotic Word.
Dove Booksellers Web site,http://www.dovebook.com/ (May 14, 2008), summary of The Erotic Word.
Oxford University Press Web site,http://www.oup.com/ (May 14, 2008) description and review of Writing on the Tablet of the Heart: Origins of Scripture and Literature.
Union Theological Seminary in New York City Web site,http://www.utsnyc.edu/ (May 14, 2008) author profile.