John C. Beckman, Ph.D.

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Associate Professor of Old Testament

When John Beckman first came to Bethlehem in 1997, he was seeking Biblical and cross-cultural training in preparation for a tentmaking career overseas as an engineering professor. He had just completed his Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Stanford University after doing nanofabrication research at Hitachi Central Research Laboratory in Tokyo and at IBM’s Yorktown Heights research laboratory in New York. But while at Bethlehem, he discovered the joy of studying and teaching the Bible and Biblical languages. As a result, after completing pastoral studies at The Bethlehem Institute and teaching Greek and systematic theology at Bethlehem, he quit his engineering job, dropped out of a master’s program in intercultural studies, and moved to Boston in 2004 for seminary and then a Ph.D. in Old Testament. Dr. Beckman returned to Bethlehem in 2011 after first learning, and then teaching, Biblical languages and exegesis at both Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and at Harvard University.

As a language specialist, Dr. Beckman’s passion is making it easier for students to learn and remember the langauges of the Bible, and then to grow spiritually through reading the Bible in its original languages. To that end he re-wrote a classic intermediate Hebrew grammar and maintains a website where he distributes hundreds of pages of worksheets, overheads, and other materials to help students learn Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and other languages that are relevant to Biblical studies.

John and his wife, Olivia, have been married for over 20 years, and enjoy reading books out loud together on the sofa, going on walks, and having long conversations. They have been blessed with two sons, one of whom loves to snuggle with Dad while reading books, and the other prefers to play games (current favorites include chess, Axis & Allies, Settlers of Catan, and Dominion).

 

Academic Credentials

  • B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Stanford University (Electrical Engineering)
  • M.A., M.Div., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Biblical Languages)
  • M.A., Ph.D., Harvard University (Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations)

 

Theological Publications

  • Williams’ Hebrew Syntax 3rd Ed. (Revised and Expanded)
  • Multiple articles in The Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics 2013)
  • “Quantum Mechanics, Chaos Physics, and the Open View of God,” Philosophia Christi 4 (2002).