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Ben Ribbens, Ph.D. 2013

Ben Ribbens, Ph.D. 2013

Recipient of the Kent and Barbara Hughes Fellowship

Assistant Professor of Theology
Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, IL

My dissertation, entitled “Levitical Sacrifice and Heavenly Cult in Hebrews,” examines Hebrews’ understanding of the relationship between old covenant sacrifices and Christ’s new covenant sacrifice, especially as it relates to the question of efficacy. Most scholars think the author of Hebrews strips the levitical sacrifices of most, if not all, efficacy, but I affirm a more positive depiction of the levitical sacrifices as sacramental, christological types. In this view, the levitical sacrifices are external rituals which themselves have no atoning efficacy; however, they were sacramentally linked to the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice, so that efficacy was proleptically applied to the levitical sacrifices.

Wheaton was a wonderful fit for me for a number of reasons. First, Wheaton’s emphasis on the integration of theological and biblical studies that produces a theologically rich biblical exegesis was a perfect match for my research. My dissertation required extensive research in Second Temple Judaism and mystical apocalyptic texts, rigorous study of Hebrews, and deep theological reflection. Wheaton’s program and faculty were uniquely prepared to guide me through such a project. Second, I was extraordinarily blessed by the tutelage of my mentor Dr. Douglas Moo. He developed me as a scholar, a writer, a teacher, and a person. Third, my doctoral colleagues created a wonderful community of scholars, who were intelligent and thoughtful scholars as well as passionate and committed Christians. Fourth, the entire doctoral community—professors and students—provided support both professionally and personally. I am deeply grateful for my time at Wheaton, and I can say with great confidence that it has prepared me well as a scholar and teacher.