Mark Allan Powell

Mark Allan Powell (Ph.D Union Theological Seminary) is the Robert and Phyllis Leatherman Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary. He is editor of the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary and author of more than 100 articles and 25 books on the Bible and religion, including a widely used textbook, Introducing the New Testament (Baker Academic, 2009).

Powell has also worked as a professional music critic, with more than 1000 published reviews in the fields of rock and pop music. The two fields of music criticism and religious scholarship come together in his 1200-page volume Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music (Hendrickson, 2000), a critical survey and analysis of artists in both the religious and mainstream markets who have produced faith-oriented products.

Powell has held a number of positions in the academic guild of theological studies. From 1992 - 1996, he served as co-chair of The Matthew Group, a section of the Society of Biblical Literature devoted to the study of Matthew's Gospel, and from 2000 - 2006, he served as Chair of The Historical Jesus Section for that same organization. He has also served for many years as editor of the Society of Biblical Literature's dissertation series (Academia Biblica), and he has been on the editorial boards of numerous professional journals, including Catholic Biblical Quarterly,Journal of Biblical Literature, and Word and World. He is one of the founding editors of the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus.

Powell's primary contributions in the field of biblical/theological studies have been in three areas: the application of modern literary criticism to the Bible, the interpretation of the Gospel of Matthew as a product of early Christian formation developing out of Judaism, and the scholarly appraisal of what can be reliably known about Jesus through the application of traditional historical methodology.

Powell is best known to many students of religion as the author of a few widely used textbooks. His Introducing the New Testament is designed to serve as a college textbook for survey courses on the New Testament. It is descriptive in tone, avoiding stands on contentious issues, and is illustrated throughout with color reproductions of artwork from various cultures depicting New Testament themes. Powell's What Is Narrative Criticism?(Fortress Press, 1990) is a standard work for introducing students to modern literary crititicism and its application to the Gospels. His Jesus as a Figure in History(Westminster/John Knox, 1998; 2nd ed., 2012) is the standard text for many institutions that feature history courses on Jesus or Christian origins. Another book, Fortress Introduction to the Gospels (Fortress Press, 1998) is often used at a graduate level for courses focusing on the distinctive characteristics and theological messages of the four New Testament Gospels.

Powell has also written books in the areas of spiritual formation (Loving Jesus), stewardship (Giving To God), and homiletics (What Do They Hear?: Bridging the Gap between Pulpit and Pew). A set of DVDs called How Lutherans Understand the Bible received widespread use throughout the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and were excerpted for inclusion in the Lutheran Study Bible (Augsburg Fortress). An ecumenical, global scholar, Powell has for served for many years as a Protestant on the Executive Committee of the Catholic Biblical Association, and he has taught at seminaries in Estonia, Russia, and Tanzania.

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Awards and Special Honors

Bibliography: Books Written or Edited by Mark Allan Powell


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