Professor Uses Grant to Promote Biblical Literacy, Interpretation
Date published: Sept. 24, 2019
The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine recently awarded Associate Professor of Theology
Andrew Glicksman, Ph.D., BA ’02, a $25,000 fellowship for his work to help promote Catholic biblical
literacy and interpretation. The CCD works with the Catholic Biblical Association
to offer these grants.
"These projects will advance biblical scholarship and support biblical literacy in
parishes and classrooms," said Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, bishop of Houma-Thibodaux
and member of the CCD-CBA Liaison Committee. Only five awards were given by the CCD
in 2019, ranging from $2,500 to $25,000.
With this grant, while on sabbatical during this fall 2019 semester, Glicksman will
develop a manuscript on the relationship between wisdom and spirit in the biblical
and patristic tradition.
“My project concerns two issues. The first is the relationship between the Holy Spirit
and wisdom. While teaching Western Theological Tradition on the UD Rome campus, I
noticed that many church fathers specifically identify Jesus, the Son, as divine wisdom,
but don’t do the same for the Holy Spirit,” said Glicksman. “They associate the Spirit
with wisdom — this makes sense because Paul lists it as one of the Spirit’s gifts
in 1 Corinthians 12 — but they don’t identify Him with wisdom to the same degree as
the Son (in technical theological language, we would say ‘by appropriation’). This
was strange to me since I knew that the ideas of God’s spirit and wisdom were very
closely related in the Old Testament, and even identified with one another in the
Wisdom of Solomon, a book that is my specialty.”
After doing some initial research, Glicksman found that there are a handful of early
church fathers — like Irenaeus of Lyon and Theophilus of Antioch — who do talk about
the Holy Spirit as wisdom.
“I’m investigating this further,” said Glicksman. “Why did the identification of the
Holy Spirit with wisdom disappear in Trinitarian formulations after the third and
fourth centuries? Is there perhaps some basis for identifying (by appropriation) both
the Son and the Holy Spirit as wisdom? And if so, what might this mean for Christian
worship and living?”
The second issue Glicksman is considering has to do with his methodology and is about
biblical interpretation in the church. He is answering the call issued by Pope Benedict
XVI (at the time, Cardinal Ratzinger) in his famous 1988 Erasmus lecture, titled “Biblical
Interpretation in Crisis,” to work toward a reassessment of the historical critical
method and its responsible integration with patristic and medieval interpretation
in order to promote a further living out of the church’s living tradition.
“I hope to contribute to this conversation by considering spirit and wisdom from both
biblical and patristic perspectives, and if my initial efforts are fruitful, in the
future I plan to consider later theologians on this same topic,” explained Glicksman.
He has a book contract with the University of Notre Dame Press and is gearing the
book to as broad an academic and theological audience as possible so that it will
be accessible to theologians in all fields, not only biblical scholars, as well as
to educated non-theologians.
“It should be accessible to our graduate students and upper-level undergraduates,”
he said. “I hope that it fosters discussion about how to interpret the Bible in the
church and how our understanding of the Trinity impacts the way we live as Christians.”
Glicksman will submit the initial manuscript at the end of the year and hopes that
the book will be published by the end of 2020.
“This project is much more than an academic exercise for me,” said Glicksman. “It
affects how I pray and live out my Catholic faith. I want to share what I discover
with others, especially with the UD community but also beyond.”