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Whitworth theology professor earns Lautenschläger Award for outstanding theological research

June 8, 2015
Whitworth Assistant Professor of Theology Will Kynes  recently received the Manfred Lautenschläger Award for Theological Promise in recognition for his book, My Psalm Has Turned into Weeping: Job’s Dialogue with the Psalms (de Gruyter, 2012). He traveled to the Heidelberg University, in Heidelberg, Germany, to receive the award alongside nine other scholars recognized for their outstanding theological research.

In his book, Kynes develops a new methodology for identifying and interpreting allusions in biblical literature and then applies his methodology to the book of Job. He finds that allusions to the Psalms play an important role throughout Job’s dialogue with his friends. Job parodies several psalms, both to strengthen his appeal against God and to defend himself against his friends. The friends, then, use those same psalms as proof texts to attack Job. In this debate, it is actually Job’s parodies that demonstrate the greater piety, because Job has such a deep faith in God’s goodness and justice that he is willing to fight God himself, joining a broad tradition in the Hebrew Bible of those who dare to challenge God to act justly.

Kynes joined Whitworth’s theology faculty in 2013; he was attracted by the institution’s unique and distinctive place in the current landscape of higher education in the U.S. He says he enjoys the academic environment the university provides its students and faculty, and that Whitworth has been a wonderful place toteach as he as continues his research.

“Whitworth is a university focused on the bull’s-eye of the Gospel, and not on policing the doctrinal borders,” Kynes says. “I think that suits us perfectly in a time when Christianity is losing its cultural influence, and when  it is becoming increasingly important to clarify those things central to our faith. This is a time to unite in Christian truth and love, and that approach is built into Whitworth’s DNA.”
Kynes says that now is also an   ideal time for those interested to immerse themselves in the study of theology, especially college students.

“A human studying theology is a bit like a fish studying water,” Kynes says. “In him we live and move and have our being,’ as Paul says in Acts 17:28. Theology is all around us. Like the fish, we may not always realize we are surrounded by it, or how important it is to our existence, but all our decisions to some degree, and many to a very large degree, are shaped by how we answer the questions theology deals with: Where did we come from? Who are we? How should we treat others? Where are we going?"

Kynes holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, an M.Litt. from the University of St. Andrews, an M.Div. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a B.A. from the University of Virginia.

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 programs.


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

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