Carmen Imes, Ph.D. 2016
Recipient of the Mina Marie Johnson Fellowship
Associate Professor of Old Testament
Wheaton was an ideal place in which to prepare for a lifetime of scholarship and teaching. The intimate size of the program fostered a collaborative environment and formed lifelong friendships. Wheaton’s high caliber faculty were accessible and full of wisdom. Aside from the full funding, what attracted me most to Wheaton was that professors were willing to ask difficult, critical questions in the context of a deep Christian commitment. My own advisor, Dr. Daniel Block, is a prime example. He has consistently engaged with scholars in the wider academy while serving in his local church. His example and his wise counsel—both academic and personal—have shaped me profoundly.
My dissertation was entitled, “Bearing YHWH’s Name at Sinai: A Re-Examination of the Name Command of the Decalogue.” After surveying the history of interpretation of Exodus 20:7 (the “Name Command”), I investigated a neglected interpretation, demonstrating its lexical, historical, literary, and theological merits in light of ritual theory and conceptual metaphor theory. I argued that when Israel entered into a covenant with YHWH, he claimed them as his own, in effect branding them verbally with his name (see Num 6:27). The Name Command then warned the covenant community not to “bear that name in vain,” that is, by failing to live as God’s covenant people should. The Israelite high priest provided a visual lexicon of this concept by “bearing the names” of the twelve tribes before YHWH and by bearing the gold medallion with YHWH’s name on his forehead, representing God to Israel and Israel to God.