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Iain W. Provan

Marshall Sheppard Professor of Biblical Studies
MA (Glasgow), BA (London Bible College), PhD (Cambridge)
Iain Provan has been the Marshall Sheppard Professor of Biblical Studies at Regent College since 1997.

Born and educated in the UK, Dr. Provan retains strong family, academic, and church connections with his homeland. He received his MA at Glasgow University in Mediaeval History and Archaeology, his BA from London Bible College in Theology, and his PhD from Cambridge, where his thesis focused on the books of Kings, and was subsequently published as Hezekiah and the Books of Kings. His academic teaching career took him to King’s College London, the University of Wales, and the University of Edinburgh, where he was a senior lecturer in Hebrew and Old Testament Studies.

Dr. Provan has written numerous essays and articles, and several books including commentaries on Lamentations, 1 and 2 Kings, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs, and co-authored with Phil Long and Tremper Longman A Biblical History of Israel (John Knox Press, 2003). Most recently he released Against the Grain: Selected Essays (Regent College Publishing, 2015), Seriously Dangerous Religion: What the Old Testament Really Says and Why It Matters (Baylor University Press, 2014) and Convenient Myths: The Axial Age, Dark Green Religion, and the World that Never Was (Baylor University Press, 2013). His next book, Discovering Genesis, is forthcoming from SPCK at the end of 2015. After this, he plans to write and publish a book on Protestant biblical hermeneutics, projected for release in 2017. 

Dr. Provan is an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland; a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge; and the recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship. He and his wife, Lynette, have four children. He is also a qualified Provincial B Licence soccer coach (BC) and ARA rowing coach (UK).

Iain Provan will be on sabbatical leave in Fall 2015. 

Listen to Dr. Provan's book launch lecture on his most recent publication: Seriously Dangerous Religion.

About the Book: Seriously Dangerous Religion: What the Old Testament Really Says and Why It Matters
The Old Testament is often maligned as an outmoded and even dangerous text. Best-selling authors like Richard Dawkins, Karen Armstrong, and Derrick Jensen are prime examples of those who find the Old Testament to be problematic to modern sensibilities. Iain Provan counters that such easy and popular readings misunderstand the Old Testament. He opposes modern misconceptions of the Old Testament by addressing ten fundamental questions that the biblical text should - and according to Provan does - answer: questions such as "Who is God?" and "Why do evil and suffering mark the world?" By focusing on Genesis and drawing on other Old Testament and extra-biblical sources, Seriously Dangerous Religion constructs a more plausible reading. As it turns out, Provan argues, the Old Testament is far more dangerous than modern critics even suppose. Its dangers are the bold claims it makes upon its readers.

Visit Regent Audio to download lectures, courses, chapel talks, and more from Iain Provan.

Areas of expertise

  • Old Testament Narrative Literature, especially the Books of Genesis & Kings
  • The Books of Lamentations, Song of Songs, & Ecclesiastes
  • Old Testament Theology & Ethics
  • The Bible, Hermeneutics, & Culture

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