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Whitworth Bruner-Welch Chair to explore the history of Christianity in March 11 lecture

February 24, 2015
Whitworth Professor of Theology James R. Edwards will present his final lecture as the Bruner-Welch Endowed Chair of Theology. Edwards’ lecture, “The First Christian Generation: From Jesus to the Church,”  will take place on Wednesday, March 11 at 7 p.m. in Weyerhaeuser Hall’s Robinson Teaching Theatre on campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Edwards’ lecture will explore the movement of the early church through both the changes and continuities exhibited in the first 75 years of Christian history after Christ’s death.

“I know few people who have developed the kind of intellectual root system as broad and deep as Jim Edwards,”says Jerry Sittser, Whitworth professor of theology and chair of the theology department. “He has written extensively on the gospels, but he has also invested so much time and energy into the early Christian period, driven by a curiosity to discover why and how the Christian movement transitioned so quickly and successfully from the Jewish culture of Palestine to the Greco-Roman culture of the Mediterranean world.”

Edwards, a 1967 Whitworth graduate, holds a Ph.D. from Fuller Theological Seminary and an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has also studied theology at the University of Zürich, in Switzerland; at the University of Tübingen, in Germany; and at Tyndale House, in Cambridge, England. Edwards joined Whitworth's faculty in 1997 after serving for nearly 20 years as a professor at Jamestown College, in Jamestown, N.D.

His 2009 book, The Hebrew Gospel and the Development of the Synoptic Tradition, presented groundbreaking research which greatly challenged traditional views of the synoptic gospels that, until his book’s publication, were generally assumed to be true.

Edwards is a former longtime contributing editor to Christianity Today magazine, and he has published numerous articles and books for scholarly and popular audiences. He is also the author of Is Jesus the Only Savior? (Eerdmans, 2005), named the top book of the year on apologetics and evangelism by Christianity Today, and The Divine Intruder (NavPress, 2000). His other publications include a commentary on Hebrews in The Renovare Study Bible (HarperSanFrancisco, 2005); a commentary on Romans in New Interpreter's Study Bible (Abingdon, 2003); and a commentary on The Gospel of Mark, Pillar New Testament Commentary (Eerdmans, 2002).

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Debbie Stierwalt, program assistant in theology, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3391 or

Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or