Jamie Viands, Ph.D. 2010
Recipient of the Dale and Susan Kemp Fellowship
Lecturer in Old Testament
Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, Africa International University, Nairobi, Kenya
My dissertation, now published by Pickwick, was entitled, “The Progeny Blessing in the Old Testament with Special Attention to the Latter Prophets,” supervised by Dr. Richard Schultz. My study is a biblical-theological exploration of the progeny blessing, initially appearing in Gen 1:28 where God blesses humanity, “be fruitful and multiply.” First, I trace the development of the progeny motif through the biblical narrative. This development entails both promises and realizations (interrupted by periods of decimating judgment), including the universal blessing, the Abrahamic promise, initial fulfillment in Egypt, further possibilities for blessing under the Sinai covenant, a greater realization during Solomon’s reign (see 1 Kgs 4:20), and the expectation of unprecedented multiplication following exile (see Deut 30:6, 9). Turning to the Latter Prophets, the focus of my work, I argue that Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, and Zechariah all further develop the progeny blessing in dependence on these prior traditions (and at times on one another). Together, the Latter Prophets allude to each of the major progeny traditions found elsewhere in the OT, but each prophet emphasizes different traditions in his portrayal of its future enjoyment. The Latter Prophets thus indicate that Yahweh’s covenantal commitments to his people, all of which contain the progeny blessing, are complementary. Furthermore, I demonstrate that the prophets make unique contributions to an OT understanding of the progeny blessing.
It has been a tremendous privilege to earn my PhD at Wheaton. I was first attracted to the program by its emphasis on Biblical Theology and by the world-class evangelical faculty who are committed to the authority and unity of Scripture. Close interactions with faculty members have shaped me as a student, as a scholar, and as a follower of Christ. Furthermore, as a result of the generous fellowship and stipend provided for all admitted students, I have graduated without accruing any debt, an incalculable blessing. In an age in which a gulf often exists between the Church and the academy, the Wheaton PhD program provides an education that enables its students to thrive in the academy as well as minister effectively within the Church.