Creative Team Building and Leadership Resources - In our Elements

Walter Harrelson – Bringing Two Worlds Together

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

Dr. Walter Harrelson taught at Andover Newton Theological School, The University of Chicago Divinity School and was 30 years at Vanderbilt University Divinity School where he served as Dean for several years. He has written numerous books and articles on the Hebrew scriptures and other literature of the ancient Near East, was on the translation team for the New Revised Standard Version, and edited the New Interpreter’s NRSV Study Bible. After  his retirement from Vanderbilt, Dr. Harrelson assisted in the planning and beginnings of the new Divinity School at Wake Forest, and he continues to write and teach, bringing the ancient and modern worlds into conversation. Listen to him share the genesis of this great lifework, and what sustained the passion for that work over the years.



  • September 5, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Harrelson’s work helps us understand these ancient texts which God has given us. We can then ponder what they mean and act upon them.

    Comment by Ed Christman

  • September 7, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    My favorite part of this interview is when Dr. Harrelson states that his inspiration to study the scriptiures came from his experience at a little country church in a small town NC. I am impressed with the humility of this message, that a renowned biblical scholar credits his teachers at a small country church for planting the seed.

    Comment by Leanne Cartee

  • September 27, 2010 at 9:11 am

    It is interesting that he mentions James Muilenburg as such an important influence. Frederick Buechner mentions him as well in his memoir “Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation” as an influential figure in his own spiritual journey. In fact, he makes this comment that has always stuck with me: “Though I was no longer at Union when he gave his final lecture, I am told that a number of students from the Jewish seminary across the street attended it and, before entering the great room, left their shoes in the corridor outside to indicate that the ground on which they stood with him was holy ground.” The legacies of students like Harrelson and Buechner is a grand one indeed. Thanks, Stan, for this interview.

    Comment by Steven

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