BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Illinois Wesleyan University Chair of Religion Kevin Sullivan is
co-editor of a new book of academic essays honoring eminent British scholar, theologian
and priest Christopher Rowland.
The Open Mind: Essays in Honour of Christopher Rowland (Bloomsbury/T&T Clark, 2015) draws on the research interests of Rowland, who recently
retired as Dean Ireland’s Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture, The Queen’s
Famed for his innovative approaches to matters textual and non-textual, Rowland is
the author or co-author of nearly 40 books. His pioneering book The Open Heaven: A Study of Apocalyptic in Judaism and Early Christianity (SPCK, 1982) redefined the concept of apocalypticism and opened new vistas on the
understanding of first-century Christianity, Sullivan said.
The Open Mind is a “Festschrift,” according to Sullivan. The term, borrowed from German, can be
translated as a celebration publication. Sullivan said such collections are fairly
common in Biblical studies, and noted The Open Mind is the third such book to appear on the occasion of Rowland’s retirement. “The fact
that one man receives three such volumes speaks volumes in itself,” the editors write.
The majority of The Open Mind’s essays were written by Rowland’s former doctoral students, including Sullivan and
his co-editor Jonathan Knight, who is Research Fellow of the Katie Wheeler Trust.
The significance of the Jewish contribution to developing Christian ideology is critically
assessed, including the original Jewish sources on the earliest Christian belief.
Sullivan also wrote the chapter entitled “Jesus, Angels and the Honeycomb in Luke
“I thoroughly enjoyed working on this project,” said Sullivan. “Bloomsbury/T&T Clark
is a preeminent academic publisher in the UK, so we were pleased to get the volume
into their well-established Library of New Testament Series.”
Sullivan is also associate professor of religion at Illinois Wesleyan. He completed
his Ph.D. at Oxford in 2003 and joined the faculty at Illinois Wesleyan in 2006. He
holds master’s degrees from both Notre Dame University (theology) and the University
of Michigan (near Eastern Studies), where he also earned bachelor’s degrees in economics
and near Eastern Studies.
Sullivan’s research interests focus on late Second Temple Judaism, the New Testament
and Christian Origins, and especially Jews and early Christian angelology. He is also
the author of Wrestling with Angels: A Study of the Relationship between Angels and Humans in Ancient
Jewish Literature and the New Testament (Brill Academic Publishers, 2004).