Cooper Smith, Ph.D. 2019
Adult and Family Ministries Pastor
Heartland Evangelical Free Church
My doctoral studies at Wheaton College is one of God’s gracious gifts in my life. Wheaton’s program is uniquely designed to form an interdisciplinary scholar who can maneuver with biblical and theological sensitivity while also contributing to academic discussions at the highest levels—all for the purpose of exalting Christ and edifying his church. From coursework to world-class mentors to the countless number of joy-filled conversations with peers from across the disciplines, Wheaton’s program provided more than mere knowledge about a field of study. It shaped my interpretive framework in a way that profoundly informs my work as both a scholar and pastor.
My dissertation was entitled “‘I have heard the sound of your words’: Allusion and the Elihu Speeches of Job 32–37” supervised by Dr. Richard Schultz. Elihu is among the most diversely evaluated characters in the Old Testament. Attending to the inner-Joban allusions in the Elihu speeches provides both an explanation and appreciation for this diversity. After carefully defining allusion, the dissertation identifies and interprets twenty-three allusions in Job 32–37 that refer to Job 1–31 in order to understand both their individual significance in the Elihu speeches and their collective significance as a literary feature. The allusiveness is shown to both invite and explain the varied assessments of Elihu’s merits in the history of interpretation. Ultimately, I wanted to explore how allusions work in general and how they function specifically in Elihu’s speeches to provide important signposts for evaluating his argument. The dissertation has been published under the title Allusive and Elusive: Allusion and the Elihu Speeches of Job 32–37 (Brill).