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Faculty Profile

Jack Levison

John (Jack) R. Levison

Professor of New Testament

Phone: 206-281-2359
Office: Lower Moyer B11

Education: BA, Wheaton College, 1978; MA, Cambridge University, 1983; PhD, Duke University, 1985. At SPU since 2001.

Jack Levison grew up in a small tract house in the Levittown area of Long Island, New York. He left to attend Wheaton College, where Professor of Greek Jerry Hawthorne captivated his imagination and urged him to study at Cambridge University, which Dr. Hawthorne had seen during the resplendent daffodil season and not when the unheated toilet seats were positively icy.

Later, at Duke University, Dr. Levison fell in love with a divinity student, Priscilla Pope, with whom he now shares a job, a home, two companionable teenagers, and a black mutt.

When Dr. Levison is not teaching classes, tossing a ball with his kids, or drinking tea with Priscilla, he writes on Adam and Eve traditions in Judaism and Christianity. His academic heart beats fastest, though, when he writes about the Holy Spirit.

Dr. Levison has written Filled with the Spirit (Eerdmans, 2009) and founded a new book series, Ekstasis: Religious Experience From Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Last year, he directed a Lilly Fellows Summer Seminar on Gender and Christianity with Priscilla Pope-Levison. His next book, Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life, will be published next year by Paraclete Press.

Currently, he has received two grants — from the Shohet Grant program of the International Catacomb Society and a TransCoop grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation — to direct, with Joerg Frey of Zurich, an international and interdisciplinary research project, The Historical Roots of the Holy Spirit.


Inspired: The Holy Spirit and the Mind of Faith

Eerdmans, 2013

In this book Levison speaks a fresh prophetic word to the church, championing a unique blend of serious Bible study and Christian spirituality. With rich insight, he shows Christians of any church or denomination how they can take the Spirit into the grit of everyday life. Levison argues for an indispensable synergy between spontaneity and study, ecstasy and restraint, inspiration and interpretation.

Sex, Gender, and Christianity (with Priscilla Pope-Levison)

Wipf and Stock, 2012

Should women be priests? Should women submit to their husbands? Is premarital sex okay? This volume contributes an unprecedented collection of first-rate articles from a variety of disciplines — from the social sciences to history, from literary criticism to theology — that will challenge college administrators, professors, and students to address, in an atmosphere of scholarly inquiry, these and other such questions that have splintered Christianity and polarized the church.

Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life

Paraclete Press, 2012

Filled With the Spirit

Eerdmans, 2009

"With this claim to an anointing that teaches all things, with this conviction that the spirit of truth resides exclusively within this community, the Letter of 1 John breaks new ground, leaving behind Israel's belief that education plays a pivotal role in the passion on and application of earlier Scriptures. The author of this epistolary sliver also leaves behind the Fourth Gospel, in which the promised spirit of truth teaches by reminding believers about Jesus' sayings and by guiding the community into the full significance of Jesus' death and resurrection." (420)

Texts in Transition: The Greek Life of Adam and Eve

Scholars Press, 2000

Of Two Minds: Ecstasy and Inspired Interpretation in the New Testament World

D. & F. Scott Publishers, 1999

The Spirit in First-Century Judaism

Brill Publishing, 1996

Selected Publications

  • Return to Babel: Global Perspectives on the Bible, edited with Priscilla Pope-Levison, (Westminster John Knox, 1999).
  • Josephus’ Contra Apionem: Studies in Its Character and Context With a Latin Concordance to the Portion Missing in Greek, edited with Louis H. Feldman, Arbeiten zur Geschichte des antiken Judentums und des Urchristentums 34 (Brill, 1996).
Please view Dr. Levison’s CV (PDF) for additional publications.

Jack Levison

Why I Teach at SPU

Jack Levison, Professor of New Testament Studies

“I teach at SPU because of the vigor our students bring to connecting justice, thinking, and faith. I also enjoy the opportunity to teach students from other faith traditions, such as Islam, or students with no faith at all! Our discussions are lively, our interactions authentic, and our growth together relentless.”

Eugene Peterson
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Eugene Peterson Reviews Fresh Air

SPU alumnus Eugene Peterson ’54, author of The Message, recently reviewed Levison's latest book, Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life (Paraclete Press, April 2012). Read reviews from other theologians, including N.T. Wright and Walter Brueggemann.