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Old Testament Professor Patricia K. Tull announces retirement

by Louisville Seminary | Jun 03, 2010
The Rev. Dr. Patricia K. Tull announced at the faculty meeting on May 21 that she will retire from her teaching position at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary on September 1, 2010. In sharing her announcement with the Seminary community after graduation, Dr. Tull said that her decision is coming at a time that “seems right both from a professional and a family perspective,” adding that she is very grateful for her sixteen years of teaching at LPTS.

“I have appreciated wonderful colleagues among faculty, staff, and administrators,” wrote Tull in her message to campus constituents. “I have enjoyed the physical beauty of the campus, and the spiritual beauty of community worship. The students have been a particular joy throughout the years. I have learned a great deal from working with you, and from watching the ways you mature throughout your time in seminary. I am excited about the Seminary’s future. I am heartened by its growing diversity, its commitments to justice and wholeness, and the new professors who have come and the gifts they bring.”

“I admire Professor Tull for her significant productivity in the field of biblical studies as a faithful Doctor of the Church. Moreover, her students have tremendous respect for her innovative teaching skills. Dr. Tull has also invested her passions for developing interfaith relations among Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the United States and abroad and for strongly encouraging all of us to reflect more seriously on our care and preservation of God’s creation. We pray for God’s blessing on her life as she enters the next important chapter in her pilgrimage of faith and service,” stated Seminary President Dean K. Thompson.

Tull studied literature and foreign language education before pursuing seminary. She earned her degrees at the University of Texas in Austin (B.S. Ed.); Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (M.Div.); and Emory University (Ph.D.). An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), she served in parish ministry prior to joining the faculty of Louisville Seminary in 1994. In 2005, she was appointed to the A.B. Rhodes Professorship in Old Testament.

In her teaching career she has shared her expertise in scriptural interpretation and its history, as well as in interfaith relations, through her numerous published articles, lectures, and presentations, and her books, including "1 Samuel" and "2 Samuel,” in Theological Bible Commentary, edited by Gail O'Day and David Petersen (Westminster John Knox Press, 2009); As Those Who Are Taught: The Interpretation of Isaiah from the LXX to the SBL, co-edited with Claire Matthews McGinnis, (Scholars Press, 2006); Esther and Ruth (Interpretation Bible Studies, Westminster John Knox Press, 2003); Esther's Feast: A Study of the Book of Esther (2001-2002 Horizons Bible Study for Presbyterian Women, Presbyterian Publishing House, 2001); and Remember the Former Things: The Recollection of Previous Texts in Second Isaiah (Scholars Press, 1997). Dr. Tull is currently finishing volume 1 of a 2-volume commentary on Isaiah, to be published by Smyth and Helwys.

In addition to teaching required courses in Hebrew, Hebrew exegesis, and the introduction to the Hebrew Bible for Master of Divinity and Master of Arts (Religion) students, Tull has offered elective courses such as Biblical Interpretation after the Holocaust, Interpreting the Exile, Preaching Biblical Narratives, Teaching the Bible: Wisdom Literature, Scripture’s Memories, Portraits of God, and Exegesis of Psalms, 1-2 Samuel, and Isaiah. Her popular Middle East travel seminar, entitled “History, Religion, and Culture in the Land of the Bible,” is offered every other January for course credit and has included pastors, graduates, and other friends of the Seminary as participants.

“Trisha will be sorely missed in the Seminary. She is a gifted and imaginative teacher, who cares for students and connects well with them. Her life, her passion for Scripture, and her commitment to ecological justice that begins with simple attention to daily habits is woven deeply into the Seminary’s life and will stay with us even as she leaves to begin a different stage of her journey. We wish her the very best,” said Seminary Dean David C. Hester, who also serves as Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Harrison Ray Anderson Professor of Pastoral Theology.

Although she is retiring from fulltime teaching, Dr. Tull said she does not intend to retire from her vocation as an educator, stating that she anticipates teaching from time to time, including Basic Bible Content, with Dr. Susan Garrett, and the January Middle East Travel Seminar in 2011 with Dr. Brad Wigger.

Outside of the Seminary, Tull has lectured and preached in a variety of settings. She teaches a regular adult Bible study class at her local church and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Biblical Literature. In 2003, she was the recipient of the Louisville Metroversity Outstanding Faculty of Adult Learners award, which recognizes the specialization of instruction for adult students: receptivity to concerns and issues, effective application of teaching to life, flexibility in dealing with adult learners, ability to incorporate life experiences in teaching styles appropriate for adult learners, and being supportive of adult students outside the classroom.

“I am hoping to continue using the knowledge and skills I have gained in service to the church and the world—first, of course, completing the writing commitments already made, and then developing ideas that have been on the back burner for years. I am hoping to work not only in Bible but also more directly in areas of interfaith and environmental concerns,” Tull said.

The faculty of Louisville Seminary is comprised of 22 accomplished scholars with credentials from some of the world’s leading theological institutions and universities. They care deeply about their students and nurture them in diverse viewpoints through team-taught curriculum and competent and creative instruction that integrate theological discipline with the practice of ministry.

A search committee will be appointed in the fall semester.

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