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Faculty and Vice Presidents

The Rev. Melody Knowles, Ph.D.

The Rev. Melody Knowles, Ph.D., is the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Old Testament. She teaches courses on the religion of Israel, the Psalms, Hebrew, and the Bible in film. She joined the VTS faculty in 2013. Before coming to VTS, she was a member of the faculty at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago from 1999-2013, serving as Associate Professor of Hebrew Scriptures.

Dr. Knowles received her Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2001. Her dissertation, “The Centrality of the Jerusalem Temple and Religious Practice of Yehud in the Persian Period,” stemmed from her interests in the reworking of historical traditions within the Psalter, women’s use of the Psalms, and the ancient practice of religion. She earned an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1994, and a B.A. (summa cum laude), from Trinity Western University, Langley, BC, Canada in 1991.

Dr. Knowles has been involved in archaeological excavations at various sites in Israel, and has worked to make archaeological collections at both McCormick Seminary and VTS a visible and well-used educational resource for students.

She was ordained in the Episcopal Church, USA, and has been active in congregations in Chicago, Poughkeepsie, NY, and Alexandria, VA.

Her published works include Centrality Practiced: Jerusalem in the Religious Practice of Yehud and the Diaspora in the Persian Period (SBL Press, 2006), and Contesting Texts: Jews and Christians in Conversation About the Bible (editor and co-author along with John Pawlikowski, Esther Menn and Timothy Sandoval; Fortress Press, 2007). She was also the lead translator of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah for the Common English Bible and wrote the notes for 1-2 Chronicles in the study edition and the Psalms in the women’s study bible edition of the CEB. She is currently writing a commentary on Psalms 107-150 for the Illuminations Commentary Series (Eerdmans), and a monograph on the reception of Ps 132 in communities ranging from the second temple period to antebellum America.


“Reimagining Community Past and Present in Ezra and Nehemiah.” Pages 276-289 in The Oxford Handbook of the Writings of the Hebrew Bible. Edited by Donn F. Morgan. Oxford: O.U.P, 2018. Reproduced by permission of  Oxford University Press. [read chapter]
“The Writings: Confirming and Contradicting Gender Stereotypes.” Co-written with Judy Fentress-Williams. Pages 137-169 in The Hebrew Bible: Feminist and Intersectional Perspectives. Gale A. Yee, editor. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2018
“Ethics in Ezra and Nehemiah.” Pages 264-268 in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Ethics. Edited by Robert Brawley, Kathy Ehrensperger, Jan van der Watt, Isaac Kalimi, Ralph Klein, and Stephen Fowl. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014 Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press. [read entry]
“Feminist Criticism and the Psalms.” Pages 424-36 in The Oxford Handbook of the Psalms. Edited by William P. Brown. Oxford: O.U.P, 2014. Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press. [read chapter]
“‘Now English denizend, though Hebrue borne’: Did Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, Read Hebrew?” Studies in Philology 109.3 (Spring 2012): 279-89.
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