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August 31, 2001


DALLAS (SMU) -- Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University has named six new faculty members for 2001-2002. They are Karen Baker-Fletcher, Alejandro F. Botta, Jaime Clark-Soles, Roy L. Heller, Bruce D. Marshall, and Richard D. Nelson.

Karen Baker-Fletcher, new associate professor of theology at Perkins School of Theology, was the associate professor of theology and culture at Claremont School of Theology in California since 1993. Prior to Claremont College, she was assistant professor of theology and culture at Christian Theological Seminary.

Originally from Indianapolis, Baker-Fletcher earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and French in 1982 from Wellesley College, where she was a Wellesley College Scholar. She earned a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School in 1984. In 1990, she earned a master’s degree in the study of religion from Harvard University, where she also earned a doctorate in constructive and historical theology in 1991.

Baker-Fletcher is author of A Singing Something: Womanist Reflections on Anna Julia Cooper (1994); My Sister, My Brother: Womanist and Xodus God-Talk (1997); and Sisters of Dust, Sisters of Spirit: Womanist Wordings on God and Creation (1998).

Alejandro F. Botta, former theology professor at the United Evangelistic Seminary in Madrid, Spain has been named assistant professor of Hebrew Bible at Perkins School of Theology.

Botta will soon earn his doctorate from the Department of History of the Jewish People at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. In addition he studied Egyptology and Assyriology at the Bayerische-Julius-Maximilians-Universität in Würzburg, Germany from 1993-1995; theology at the High Evangelical Institute for Theological Studies in Buenos Aires from 1988-1990; history at the University of Buenos Aires from 1985-1991; and theology at Buenos Aires Biblical Institute in Argentina from 1981-1986.

He has considerable teaching experience in Argentina and was an adjunct professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill. before going to Madrid. His areas of teaching include Old Testament, biblical languages, ancient near eastern history, Jewish history, Egyptology, New Testament surveys and Latin American theology.

Botta speaks Spanish, English, Portuguese and German and reads Italian, French and Dutch, some modern Hebrew, Aramaic, Akkadian, Ugaritic, Middle and late Egyptian, Demotic and Coptic. He also translates Latin and Greek.

He remains in contact with Latin-American biblical scholars through a collaborative project of publication, Introducción al Antiguo Testamento en Perspectiva Latinoamericana, which includes contributions by Protestant, Evangelical and Catholic Old Testament scholars from Latin America.

Jaime Clark-Soles, formerly an instructor at Yale Divinity School, has accepted the appointment as assistant professor of New Testament at Perkins School of Theology. Clark-Soles has earned four degrees from Yale University including her doctorate (2000), her master’s in philosophy (1998), her master’s of arts (1997), and master’s of divinity (1993). Her bachelor degree is from Stetson University, where she graduated magna cum laude.

Her special academic interests include the nature of scriptural authority and the Book of John. She is committed to interdisciplinary dialogue and has recently received a Perkins Scholarly Outreach Award to pursue that interest.

Clark-Soles currently is writing a book on death and afterlife as viewed in the New Testament, a project that allows her to combine her scholarly and pastoral interests. As an ordained American Baptist minister, Clark-Soles has served in both parish and hospice settings.

Roy L. Heller, who began serving in 1999 as a visiting professor at Perkins School of Theology, has been named assistant professor of Old Testament. He recently earned a doctorate in Hebrew Bible and Old Testament at Yale University Graduate School. Heller also has Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy degrees from Yale University Graduate School and a Master of Sacred Theology and Master of Divinity degrees from Yale University Divinity School.

Specializing in literary and historical approaches to the Bible and Bible theology, Heller is knowledgeable in the languages of classical Hebrew, Koine Greek, Aramaic, Ugaritic, standard Babylonian, German and French. Heller won the Yale University’s Dissertation Fellowship in 1996, the Yale University Graduate Fellowship from 1991-1996, and the Two Brothers Fellowship from Yale University Divinity School in 1991, which he used to study biblical archaeology at the Leon Levy Expedition in Ashqelon, Israel.

His dissertation will be published in 2001 in the Harvard Semitic Studies Series under the title “Stories and Speeches: How Hebrew Syntax Affects the Way We Read Biblical Narrative.”

From 1992 to 1996 he was a teaching fellow at Yale Divinity School and Yale College. In 1997 he became an instructor for the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut. In 1998 he began teaching as an adjunct professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School.

Bruce D. Marshall, who served for 16 years as a professor of religion at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., has been named professor of historical theology at Perkins School of Theology.

Marshall earned his bachelor’s degree in history and literature of religions in 1977 from Northwestern University in Chicago. He earned a master’s degree from Yale Divinity School in 1979 and completed his doctorate in religious studies from Yale University in 1985. His area of teaching and research is historical and systematic theology, working especially on the history and present significance of Christian doctrines about God and Christ, relationship between Christian and Jewish communities and ecumenical issues.

He has written Trinity and Truth (2000) and Christology in Conflict (1987). He edited Theology in Dialogue: Essays in Conversation with George Lindbeck (1991) and serves on the editorial board of the journal Modern Theology.

In 1999 Marshall was honored with the Cardin Chair in the Humanities as a visiting Professor at Loyola College in Maryland. He won a research fellowship from the Pew Evangelical Scholars Program in 1998 and a fellowship for college teachers in 1990 from the National Endowment for the Humanities. As a Lutheran layperson, Marshall represents the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in its ongoing ecumenical dialogue with the Eastern Orthodox churches in the United States.

Richard D. Nelson will be the W.J.A. Power Chair of Old Testament at Perkins School of Theology. He is the former Kraft Professor of Biblical Studies at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg since 1981.

Nelson earned a bachelor’s degree from Capital University, a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Lutheran Seminary and a doctorate from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia.

An ordained pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Nelson served from 1973 to 1977 as pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh, Penn. From 1977 to 1981, he taught religion at Ferrum College in Virginia, while also serving part time as the minister of Rocky Mount Presbyterian Church. He was a volunteer participant in the excavation of Gezer during the 1971 season and has done sabbatical research at the Yale Babylonian Collection, Princeton Seminary and the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. In 1999, he served as a visiting scholar at Princeton Theological Seminary.

Nelson is the author of five books and numerous articles on biblical themes. Abingdon Press published his latest, The Historical Books in the Interpreting Biblical Texts series (1998). Other recent publications are Raising Up A Faithful Priest (1993) and Joshua: A Commentary (1997). He currently is finishing a major commentary on Deuteronomy. He also has written adult education materials, most recently God’s Exodus People in the Inspire Bible Study Series by Augsburg Fortress Press (1998).