James L. Crenshaw

Robert L. Flowers Professor Emeritus of Old Testament


Duke Divinity School
Box 90968
Durham, NC 27708-0968


B.A., Furman University
B.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
D.D., Furman University

Professor Crenshaw, who taught Old Testament at Duke Divinity School from 1987-2008, is one of the leading interpreters of wisdom literature in the Bible.

His most recent book, Qoheleth: The Ironic Wink, engages modern interpreters in a debate over the lasting relevance of the author of Ecclesiastes and the place of Ecclesiastes as a book of the bible. The book was published in 2014 by the University of South Carolina Press as the fifteenth volume in the series, Personalities of the Old Testament, which Crenshaw edits.

Crenshaw has also published commentaries on Ecclesiastes and Sirach, a collection of essays, Urgent Advice and Probing Questions, Education in Ancient Israel, and Defending God: Biblical Responses to the Problem of Evil.

His Old Testament wisdom has introduced thousands of students to biblical wisdom. His book Prophets, Sages & Poets, reveals his deep interest in prophecy as well as wisdom, as do his commentary on Joel and two monographs on Prophetic Conflict and Hymnic Affirmation of Divine Justice. His interests include books on Samson and Psalms, A Whirlpool of Torment, and Trembling at the Threshold of a Biblical Text.

Crenshaw has also written a book on Job. He is a former editor of the SBL Monograph Series and chaired the section on wisdom literature for many years.

The McCarthy Visiting Professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome 2006-07, he is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and a Guggenheim Fellow. He taught at Vanderbilt Divinity School for 18 years.