Faculty Interview — Dr. Jason Whitlark — Part 2

Jason Whitlark is Associate Professor and Faculty Assistant Director in BIC, where he primarily teaches World Cultures I and Biblical Heritage. Dr. Whitlark holds a Ph.D. in New Testament from the Religion Department at Baylor, and he has a new book that was published in 2014–Resisting Emprire: Rethinking the Purpose of the Letter to the Hebrews. We hope you enjoy learning more about Dr. Whitlark and his research. This is Part 2 of a two part interview (read Part 1).

Whitlark photoWhere do you see your research going in the future? Are you working on any new projects?

My research is still focused on interpreting the Letter to the Hebrews. My main project presently is to publish a book on the rhetorical structure of this letter. I have been working on this project for a few years now with a friend from my graduate school days. We think we have solved the puzzle to the structure and genre of this letter by studying the instructions of the rhetorical theorists. Thus, I have been immersed in ancient rhetorical handbooks. We are excited about what we have found. What remains is to pull our complete argument together for the book and find a publisher. Hebrews continues to be a fascinating text that should continue to occupy my thoughts over the next few years.

Does Baylor have a shot at making the College Football Playoff next season?

So Baylor has shown that it is a power with which to contend in the Big 12, which puzzlingly still only has 10 teams. I think, however, that Baylor has both a Big 12 and scheduling problem. Because Baylor is not a name-brand team any weakness in its schedule gets amplified. Also by not having a championship game, the Big 12 has taken a hit from the playoff committee. With that said, I think if Baylor goes undefeated and puts the hammer down on traditional powers and TCU, then Baylor will be in the playoff. Sic’em Bears!

Is there anything interesting happening with you and your family?

If you come to our house these days you will find that you have entered the world of Middle Earth with elves, hobbits, dwarfs, orcs, even Asok the Defiler. Somewhere in the office lies Mount Doom where we must destroy the ring of power (presently my wedding ring). This all happened quite suddenly. Over the Christmas break my daughter watched The Desolation of Smaug. I had been subtly trying to get her interested in it anyway. The Five Armies was about to come out and I was hoping she would go with me to see it. Well it all worked. The second Hobbit movie captured her imagination so much so that she watched the first one and then went to see the release of the third one. We then watched through the movies all once more when she realized that the story continued from the third Hobbit movie. Well then Christmas turned out to be a Lord of the Rings marathon which then resulted in us subsequently purchasing electronic copies for VUDU so she could watch the movies anywhere. It has been a fun journey to say the least. We talk about sin now as “dragon sickness.” We have a budding egalitarian. Women warriors are awesome. Tauriel is definitely the favorite. Any Gimli quote is always comic relief in the household. We are now trying to read The Hobbit and are hoping that they will make the pre-prequel on the origins of Middle Earth and the races that inhabited it.

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