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Peter Spychalla, Ph.D. 2008

Peter Spychalla, Ph.D. 2008

Peter SpychallaRecipient of the Robert and Mary Gamble Hewitt Fellowship

Assistant Professor of New Testament and Spiritual Formation
Urbana Theological Seminary; Urbana, IL

My dissertation, “The Use of the Old Testament in 1 Corinthians 10:4: Paul’s Combining of the Water-from-Rock and YHWH-as-Rock Motifs,” supervised by Dr. G. K. Beale, investigated backgrounds to Paul’s remarkable assertion that the Israelites in the wilderness “drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and the rock was Christ” (1 Cor 10:4). I argued that Paul’s characterization of Christ as the divine rock, YHWH, is enabled by Christological monotheism, wherein Paul understands Christ to be YHWH and thereby can transfer OT images for YHWH, such as divine “rock,” to Christ. Further, Paul’s juxtaposition of reference to physical rock upon which YHWH acted and reference to the divine rock in 1 Cor 10:4 is facilitated by (a) the presence of both the water-from-rock motif and the YHWH-as-rock motif in two influential backgrounds (Deuteronomy; Psalm 78) for 1 Cor 10:1–22; (b) a conceptual analogy between physical realities pertaining to physical rock and theological realities pertaining to the divine rock, YHWH; and (c) an analogy between the provision of water from rock to Israel in the wilderness and the Lord’s Supper in 1 Cor 10:1–22.

I appreciate the distinctives of the Wheaton Ph.D. program. It emphasizes interdisciplinary integration: both Old and New Testaments, both theological and biblical disciplines, and both academy and church. Its world-class faculty, not only lead in creative scholarship, but wed vibrant faith to their academic rigor. It was very advantageous to engage in dissertation research from the start of the program while being fully supported by an endowed doctoral fellowship. I am thankful for the opportunity to study at Wheaton, which has equipped me for a life of service in the academy, the church, and the world.