Posted by: Ken Brown | February 2, 2010

A New Adventure


City of Göttingen; image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

I am very pleased to announce that I have accepted a position in a PhD program at the University of Göttingen (Georg-August-Universität), in Göttingen, Germany. I’ll be working on Dr. Nathan MacDonald’s recently formed Sofja-Kovaleskaja Research Team, studying “Unity and Diversity in Early Jewish Monotheisms” in the Persian period. Barring any problems with visas or the like (about which we’d appreciate prayer!), we plan to move in early September and begin the program in October.

This is an Old Testament program, which caused me some hesitation at first–my M.A. thesis is on the Gospel of John–but I have been research assistant to an OT scholar, and teaching on Job this past November really solidified my love for the richness of the Hebrew Bible. My research proposal focused on the presentation of “monotheism” in the book of Job, though there is some possibility of instead working in the later prophets (e.g. Zechariah-Malachi). Regardless I am looking forward to expanding my horizons beyond the New Testament.

I can’t even express how excited I am by this opportunity. I’ve wanted to visit Europe for as long as I can remember, so the chance to do my PhD there,  studying a subject that fascinates me, at one of Europe’s foremost universities, with a generous stipend and funded annual trips back to the US for SBL, is about as good as it gets. And while I’ll obviously have to learn to speak (rather than just read) German, I’ll be able to write my dissertation in English, which is a huge plus.

Most of all, however, it is the people who really drew me to this program. I first learned of the opportunity through one of the Profs here at Trinity, who was at Durham with Dr. MacDonald and not only encouraged me to apply but also facilitated contact for me. Since then, I have had the opportunity to interact with Dr. MacDonald and the post-docs on his team (especially Dr. Izaak de Hulster) quite a bit at SBL New Orleans and after, and they are all wonderful people and excellent scholars. More than any of the details of the program itself, it is the opportunity to work with such a great group of people that really draws me to Göttingen.


  1. Congratulations man, this is great! Good for you buddy!

  2. congratulations!! and what a grand adventure in more ways than one! heh, i’ve done my share of moving (from California to Alabama to D.C.), but nothing like what you’re gonna do. it’ll be fun to watch it happen–you are going to keep us up on everything, right?!

  3. Viel Glück! The OT and NT combination seems to have worked for Richard Hays….

    • That’s not entirely a coincidence! I’ve long been interested in the Jewish and Old Testament background to the New, in part through the influence of scholars like Hays. For instance, my M.A. thesis has been on the Temple and Festivals in John, with a strong emphasis on the Old Testament and Second Temple Jewish literature as background. So it is a natural transition.

  4. Thanks Michael and Carmen! And yes, I’ll certainly continue to blog and tweet about our experiences over there.

    My wife and I married young and never got the chance to do this kind of travelling before we had kids (though we both have been on a few foreign mission trips), so we’re very excited. It doesn’t quite feel real yet though. I’m still afraid I’m gonna wake up one morning to find that it was all a dream! 😉

  5. Congratulations!

  6. Congratulations! I hope you keep blogging from over there in furin’ parts!

  7. […] Ken Brown of C.Orthodoxy Head on over and congratulate Ken Brown. He’s headed to Göttingen, Germany for his doctorate. […]

  8. Congratulations. I’m sure that this will be demanding. But, I hop eit will be very rewarding, as well.

  9. You are in for a great experience, Ken. May the Lord Jesus richly bless your studies.

  10. Congratulations!!!

  11. Thanks everyone!

  12. Congrats, Ken. Hate to lose another NT guy, but thrilled for all you’ll undertake… and eventually bless all of us with. Of that, I have no doubt.

  13. we’ll miss you over here at TWU (granted, I’ve never actually met you while you’ve been here…but even still).

  14. I’ll have to make sure I don’t live two hours from Göttingen! The commute makes it rather difficult to get up to Trinity more than a couple times a month.

  15. Wow! Congrats, Ken!

  16. A big congratulations to you Ken! I look forward to more blogposts about life and studies in Göttingen.

  17. Congrats, Ken. Göttingen is a program with so much history!

  18. Thanks Joel, Mike and Brandon!

    Lots of history, yes, and excellent libraries too, so long as you like reading German originals! 😉

  19. Awesome!

  20. […] on over and congratulate Ken Brown. He’s headed to Göttingen, Germany for his […]

  21. Very sweet, Ken. I’ve been to Göttingen, remember conversations with Fachleute there with fondness, and studied a year in Germany. It will be the time of your life, and set you up to be a world-class scholar.

  22. Thanks John! Any tips about moving to or living in Germany?

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