Spent a lovely afternoon in Tel Balata–Shechem in the Bible. Of course, “Shechem” plays dominant roles in both Testaments: the Jacob cycle in Genesis, Joshua-Judges (especially Judges 9 which I think is central to understanding an important segment of Samaria’s history), and Jesus with the Samaritan woman to name just a few. I have dreamed of coming to this place for decades.
“The only such polity in the northern part of the central hill country that had not been ruled from the area of Shechem is the Gibeon/Gibeah entity of the Late Iron 1.” I Finkelstein, 2013.
“And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants” (Jos 24:32).
Dr. Travis B. Williams is an assistant professor of Religion at Tusculum, specializing in the New Testament and Early Christian Literature. Over his four years with the college, he has contributed to the department in a variety of ways. Aside from his efforts in the classroom, he has served as Theologian-in-Residence, he has worked to develop new courses and curriculum, and he has been involved in various community engagement projects. His teaching duties focus primarily on the Jewish and Christian traditions, although he regularly leads courses that fall within the broader sphere of Religious Studies. Along with his experience teaching residential students, he also works with the Graduate and Professional Studies Program.
During his time at Tusculum, Dr. Williams has been engaged with an extensive research agenda. One of his primary areas of specialty is the letter of 1 Peter. He has published a number of articles and essays on this New Testament epistle, and has also produced two major monographs: Persecution in 1 Peter: Differentiating and Contextualizing Early Christian Suffering (NovTSup 145; Leiden: Brill, 2012), and Good Works in 1 Peter: Negotiating Social Conflict and Christian Identity in the Greco-Roman World (WUNT 337; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014). As a culmination of his work in this area, Dr. Williams is currently writing a major exegetical commentary on 1 Peter. In collaboration with Prof. David G. Horrell (University of Exeter), he is co-authoring the 1 Peter volume in the prestigious International Critical Commentary (ICC) series.
Apart from his work in New Testament studies, Dr. Williams is also involved in concentrated study on the Dead Sea Scrolls. He has written on the pesher commentaries within the scrolls corpus, particularly as they relate to the phenomenon of inspired exegesis, and he is currently exploring two other features of scrolls literature: rewritten Scripture and sacrifice within the Qumran community(-ies). The former relates to the fluidity of the scriptural text within Second Temple Judaism; whereas the latter involves the different meaning(s) and function(s) which the group assigns to sacrificial ritual due to the shifting nature of their social context. Both of these are expected to play a significant role in Dr. Williams’ future research.
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