Faculty Profiles

Julie Newberry

Julie Newberry

Assistant Professor of New Testament

On Faculty since 2019

“…what you call my struggle to submit, … is not struggle to submit but a struggle to accept and with passion. I mean, possibly, with joy. Picture me with my ground teeth stalking joy—fully armed too as it’s a highly dangerous quest.” ~ Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being

Dr. Newberry is a scholar and teacher of New Testament, with a special focus on the Synoptic Gospels (especially Luke) and Acts. She joined the faculty at Wheaton College in the fall of 2019 and defended her dissertation in April 2020 (Duke University). 

Dr. Newberry’s dissertation focuses on joy and the conditions—that is, the circumstances, habits, dispositions, and so forth—that lead to joy in the Gospel according to Luke (with a glance at Acts as well). While the prominence of joy in Luke's Gospel has long been recognized, she hopes to further our understanding of this motif by examining the relationship between joy-according-to-Luke and other aspects of discipleship. For Luke, she argues, appropriate joy depends on God’s action to bring about joy-conducive circumstances. At the same time, “successful” rejoicing also depends on human receptivity to this divine action—receptivity that is shaped by faithfulness in a range of other aspects of the life of discipleship (faith/trust, the ordering of one’s loves, the orientation of one’s hope, etc.).

This project, a revised version of which has been accepted for publication in the series WUNT 2, contributes to ongoing discussions about the study of "emotions" in the New Testament, a growing area of interest in the guild of biblical scholars. That said, Dr. Newberry will be the first to tell you that, for her, academic trendiness is far from the primary reason for her research. Rather, this dissertation topic intrigues her precisely because being joyful has not come “naturally” to her; for much of her life, she has been more on the melancholy side of the spectrum. Luke not only emphasizes joy (if you need convincing of this point, go re-read Luke 1-2 and Luke 15!) but even portrays joy as command-able (e.g., Luke 6:22-23). Many would find such a command counterintuitive at best—Dr. Newberry included. She undertook her dissertation project, in part, to find out more about what joy is according to Luke, how “joy” could be intelligibly commanded, and how Luke might help us to foster joy today.

In this regard, Dr. Newberry’s dissertation project is emblematic of how she tries to approach what she or others experience as “difficult texts” in Scripture—not by ignoring the text or the difficulty but rather by trying to think further (prayerfully) about both. In her teaching, she seeks to model and foster this combination of honesty and humility as she leads students through the New Testament.

Dr. Newberry’s recent shorter projects extend this work in a variety of directions, including through a reading of 2 Corinthians that attends to her own social location as a white woman and through an analysis of intertextuality and embodiment (especially age) in the Lukan infancy narrative. In addition to revising her dissertation, Dr. Newberry is also currently working on the reception of the Apostle Paul in poems by three (at the time of writing) Anglican poets.

  • PhD, New Testament, Duke University Graduate School (2020)
  • M.A., Duke University Graduate School (2017)
  • M.Div., Duke University Divinity School (2014)
  • M.A., English, Texas A&M University (2011)
  • B.A., Humanities and English (Spanish minor; Torrey Honors Institute), Biola University (2008)
  • Synoptic Gospels
  • Luke-Acts
  • Emotions in Biblical Literature
  • Age/Intergenerational Relations in the New Testament
  • Intertextuality (Old Testament in the New Testament)
  • Society of Biblical Literature
  • Gospel of Luke
  • Acts of the Apostles
  • Emotions in Biblical Literature
  • Intertextuality (Old Testament in the New Testament)
  • (Esp. Old) Age and Intergenerational Relations, in the New Testament and in the Contemporary Church

“Paul’s Allusive Reasoning in 1 Corinthians 11.7–12.” New Testament Studies 65.1 (2019): 43-58.

“Where Did the Joy Go?: Reflections on the (Lexical) Dearth of Joy Later in Acts,” to be presented at Book of Acts Section, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA. (2019, paper accepted for presentation)

“‘Rejoice, Favored One!’: Hearing Both Greeting and (Joy) Command in Luke 1:28,” South Eastern Commission for the Study of Religion (Women, Gender, & Religion), East Carolina University, Greenville, NC. March 2019.

“Joy in the Lukan Infancy Narrative: The Emotional Overtones of Zechariah’s Speech(lessness),” Gospel of Luke Section, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Denver, CO. November 2018.

“Reading Joy(lessness) in the Gospel of Luke: The Case of Zechariah,” Society of Duke Fellows Luncheon, Duke University, Durham, NC. November 2018. 

“(Old and Young) Age in the New Testament: Luke 1:5-2:40,” South Eastern Commission for the Study of Religion (SECSOR), Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA. March 2018. 

“Paul’s Allusive Reasoning in 1 Corinthians 11:7-12,” Intertextuality in the New Testament, Society of Biblical Literature, Annual Meeting, Boston, MA. November 2017.

“Paul’s Allusive Reasoning in 1 Corinthians 11:7-12,” South Eastern Commission for the Study of Religion (SECSOR), Annual Meeting, Raleigh, NC. March 2017.

“Giving and Thanksgiving: Gratitude and Its Contraries in A Mask and Paradise Regained,” South-Central Renaissance Conference, St. Louis, MO. March 2011.

“The Role of Art in Poetic Devotion: George Herbert’s Poetics,” Western Regional Conference on Christianity and Literature, Undergraduate Panel, La Mirada, CA. May 2008.