Phew! That is all I can say right now. I just heard that Kevin Vanhoozer is leaving Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and becoming the Blanchard Professor of Theology at Wheaton College and Graduate School. The reason this particular bit of news is hitting me hard is because I almost decided to go to Trinity mainly to study with Dr. Vanhoozer. In the end, I made the (right) decision to go to Fuller and study with Joel Green, but at the time, the decision was not as obvious as it is now.
If I had gone to Trinity and this happened out of the blue (he gave me no indication it was a possibility when I spoke with him about a year ago), I would be in a world of hurt right now. My main mentor would have left, leaving me with few other theologians interested specifically in my field at Trinity. I also would have lost the respectability that comes with being one of his students. All of that combined would have made for a tough few years. I really do have to thank the Lord (literally, I have already prayed and will continue to do so) that he led (some won't like that word) me in the decision to come here to Fuller. Joel has been a wonderful mentor, surpassing all of my expectations. I am learning a ton and being pushed to succeed.
What does this move mean for Wheaton and Trinity? First, it is an absolutely huge loss for Trinity. Vanhoozer was sort of an ace-in-the-hole for them that gave them academic respectability with the broader academic world. Now, I for one think that many people at Trinity do fine work, but their "street cred" with the academic world has been severely hurt by this move.
For Wheaton this is a wonderful pickup. Their Ph.D. program is actually in Biblical and Theological Studies, making this a wonderful for both Vanhoozer and Wheaton. Vanohoozer also gets to work with one of his students, Daniel Treier. While Vanhoozer was at Trinity, Treier was the main voice at Wheaton for theological interpretation. I wonder if having Vanhoozer around will overshadow him? Nonetheless, Wheaton's theology department, with this pickup, has become a major player in the theological interpretation of Scripture. If only one could combine Wheaton's theology faculty with Fuller's New Testament faculty - then one would have a great school for the theological interpretation of Scripture.
Update: See Dr. Vanhoozer's response in the comments section. He will stay as the mentor for his current students, something which I am sure they all greatly appreciate. It is great to see a scholar care for his students.
I wouldn't do that to my students! I'm going to continue supervising 12 until they finish. That's simply the Golden Rule put into higher education...
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