Duke University has awarded a distinguished professorship to Brent Strawn, now named Moody Smith Distinguished Professor of Old Testament. The designation is the most prestigious faculty appointment that Duke offers, recognizing both exceptional achievement and potential for future achievement.
Strawn’s research focuses on ancient Near Eastern iconography, Israelite religion, biblical law, the Psalms, poetry, and Old Testament theology. He joined the Duke Divinity School faculty in 2019 and has a secondary appointment at the Duke University School of Law. Strawn is also a member of the Hebrew Bible track in the Ph.D. program in Religion, where he teaches and advises doctoral students in Duke’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Before that, he taught at Asbury Theological Seminary for three years and then, for eighteen years, at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, where he was the William Ragsdale Cannon Distinguished Professor of Old Testament. Strawn has published over two hundred and fifty articles, chapters in books, contributions to reference works, and reviews. He is the author of What Is Stronger than a Lion? Leonine Image and Metaphor in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2005), The Old Testament Is Dying: A Diagnosis and Recommended Treatment (Baker Academic, 2017), The Old Testament: A Concise Introduction (Routledge, 2019), Lies My Preacher Told Me: An Honest Look at the Old Testament (Westminster John Knox, 2021), and Honest to God Preaching: Talking Sin, Suffering, and Violence (Fortress Press, 2021). Strawn is an ordained elder in the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church and regularly speaks and preaches at churches across the country.
The distinguished professorship is named for D. Moody Smith, George Washington Ivey Professor Emeritus of New Testament, who died in 2016 at age 84. Smith joined the Duke faculty in 1965, where he taught in the Divinity School as well as the Graduate Program in Religion. From 1974 through 1980 he was director of Graduate Studies in Religion. He was the George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament from 1987 until his retirement in 2001.
Strawn's new appointment begins July 1, 2022.