J.J. Johnson Leese
Instructor of Christian Scripture
Office: 4 West Nickerson
Education: MDiv, Fuller Theological Seminary; MST, Concordia Seminary. At SPU since 2012.
J.J. Johnson Leese joins the School of Theology as an instructor of Christian Scripture. Her academic degrees include a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena) and a Master of Sacred Theology from Concordia Seminary (St. Louis), and she is now completing a PhD in Biblical Studies from the University of Durham under the supervision of Dr. John G.M. Barclay. Her thesis is titled “Paul’s Theology of New Creation: An Ecological Interpretation.”
For the past 10 years, J.J. has been as an international educator teaching biblical studies in India and Hong Kong. Her vocational passion is for teaching and guiding the spiritual and intellectual faith of young people. J.J. has experience teaching in multiple cross-cultural settings, having led student groups to India, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, China, and the Philippines. She has taught introductory and advanced Biblical Studies courses in three countries and at three different academic levels, having most recently taught at the graduate level at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Sha Tin, Hong Kong. Because of the global commitments and initiatives of SPU, J.J. envisions many ways in which her international connections and intercultural teaching might facilitate opportunities for student global learning.
Her research interests focus on the New Testament documents with special attention given to the Pauline letters. Her dissertation research focuses on the implications of Paul’s “New Creation” theology, extending to how it may inform Christian ecological challenges facing the Church today. Her broader scholarly interests include hermeneutics, New Testament origins and context, the gospels, Second Temple Judaism, Greek language and exegesis, Women in the Bible, Eco-theological readings of the Bible, and biblical themes in contemporary film.
J.J.’s family heritage is within the Lutheran tradition. Although from the Midwest, J.J. has strong connections with the Northwest and SPU, having married Bill Leese, an SPU alumnus (1983) whose family is located in Everett and the surrounding area. In addition to being a Christian educator with specialty in leading international mission teams, Bill is also a fourth-generation commercial salmon fisherman and has recently returned to his “fishing nets” during the summer months in Alaska. When not focused on studies and teaching, J.J. enjoys participation in the family fishing business, travel, jogging, and hiking. Bill and J.J. have three young-adult children.
Please view J.J. Johnson Leese's CV (PDF) for additional publications.