Senior Fellows

Dr. John Bergsma

Dr. John Bergsma is Associate Professor of Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, in Steubenville, Ohio. He holds the M.Div. and Th.M. degrees from Calvin Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and served as a Protestant pastor for four years before entering the Catholic Church in 2001 while pursuing a Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Notre Dame.  He specialized in the Old Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls, graduating with high honors in 2004.  His major study of the interpretation of the Year of Jubilee in ancient times is published as The Jubilee from Leviticus to Qumran (Brill Academic, 2007). 

Dr. Bergsma is author of Bible Basics for Catholics, a fresh, fun, and authentically Catholic introduction to the “big picture” of salvation history. Dr. Bergsma's articles, some co-authored with Dr. Scott Hahn, have appeared in several academic journals as well as Lay Witness, the magazine of Catholics United for the Faith.  He has appeared as a guest on EWTN's The Journey Home, Franciscan University Presents, and Relevant Radio's Drew Mariani Show.  Twice voted Faculty of the Year by graduating classes of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Dr. Bergsma is a popular teacher who inspires his students with a love of Scripture. 

He and his wife Dawn reside with their eight children in Steubenville, Ohio. 

You can learn more about Dr. Bergsma from his webpage: By Clicking Here.


Curriculum Vitae

Dr. John S. Bergsma, Ph.D., Th.M., M.Div.
Associate Professor of Theology
Franciscan University of Steubenville
(740) 283-6245 ext. 2330/Egan Room 258 

Dr. John S. Bergsma, Ph.D., Th.M., M.Div.
Associate Professor of Theology
Franciscan University of Steubenville 

Education

University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1999–2004
Dissertation: “The Jubilee from Leviticus to Qumran” 
Dissertation Director: Dr. James C. VanderKam 
Dissertation Defended with High Honors March 2004 

Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998 –1999 
Master of Theology (Th.M.), May 1999 
Thesis: “Normativity in Walter Brueggemann’s Theology of the Old Testament” 

Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992–1998 
Master of Divinity (M.Div.), May 1998

Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1989–1992 
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Classical Languages, December 1993 

Books

The Jubilee from Leviticus to Qumran: A History of Interpretation (Vetus Testamentum Supplements 115; Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2007). 

Essays, Articles, Reviews

  • “The Relationship between Jubilees and the Early Enochic Books (Astronomical Book and Book of the Watchers),” in the proceedings of the Fourth Enoch Seminar (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming [Summer 2008]). 
  • “The Persian Period as Penitential Era: The ‘Exegetical Logic’ of Daniel 9.1-27,” in Exile and Restoration Revisited: Essays in Memory of Peter R. Ackroyd (ed. G. Knoppers and L. Grabbe; Library of Second Temple Studies; Continuum/T & T Clark, forthcoming Fall 2008). 
  • “Qumran Self-Identity: ‘Israel’ or ‘Judah?’” Dead Sea Discoveries 15 (2008) 172-89. 
  • “Loving the Lectionary,” Lay Witness, November 2006. 
  • “The Temple as ‘Built Jubilee’ in Ezekiel,” Proceedings of the Eastern Great Lakes and Midwestern Biblical Societies 24 (2004) 75-85 [appeared Winter 2005] 
  • “Philippians: Epistle of Joy,” Lay Witness, September 2006. 
  • “Once Again, the Jubilee, Every 49 or 50 Years?” Vetus Testamentum 55.1 (2005) 121-125. 
  • “Noah’s Nakedness and the Curse on Canaan (Gen 9:20-27),” with Scott W. Hahn, Journal of Biblical Literature 124.1 (2005) 25-40. 
  • “What Laws Were Not Good? A Canonical Approach to the Theological Problem of Ezekiel 20:25–26,” with Scott W. Hahn, Journal of Biblical Literature 123 (2004) 201–18. 
  • “The Jubilee: A Post-Exilic Priestly Attempt to Reclaim Lands?” Biblica 84 (2003): 225–46. 
  • “Codex,” “Genealogy,” “Irenaeus,” “Quotation,” and “Testimonia,” articles in The Westminster Dictionary of New Testament and Early Christian Literature and Rhetoric (ed. David Aune; Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 2003). 
  • “First Fruits and the Sanctification of Space,” Sacred Architecture 7 (2002-3): 20. 
  • Review of Walter Brueggemann, David’s Truth in Israel’s Imagination & Memory (2nd ed.; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002), Calvin Theological Journal 37 (2002):  343–344. 
  • “‘Useful for the Church?’ A Critique of Walter Brueggemann’s Theology of the Old Testament,” Calvin Theological Journal 35 (2000): 105–35. 
  • “Comparative Consistency of AA and Christian Worldviews,” Stromata: The Calvin Theological Seminary Student Journal 39.1 (1996): 96–109 . 
  • “Was Paul Wrong? A Moral Investigation of Paul’s Teaching on Slavery,” Stromata: The Calvin Theological Seminary Student Journal 38.2 (1994): 1–11. 

Radio and Television

  • Interviewed on EWTN’s “The Journey Home” with Marcus Grodi, March 24, 2008. 
  • Interviewed on The Drew Mariani Show on Relevant Radio, April 4, 2007 again concerning the Gospel of Judas. 
  • Interviewed for Franciscan University Presents concerning Pope Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth, October 31, 2007. 
  • Interviewed on The Drew Mariani Show on Relevant Radio, April 2006 concerning the Gospel of Judas. 
  • Participated in panel discussion of Dr. Scott Hahn’s Letter & Spirit: From Written Text to Living Word in the Liturgy for Franciscan University Presents, April 26, 2006. 

Papers and Presentations

  • “Catholics and Evangelicals Together,” a panel discussion with Fr. Michael Scanlan and Fr. Kenneth Cienik, for the second annual Franciscan-Wheaton Ecumenical Exchange weekend, April 5, 2008. 〉“Manhood and the Eucharist,” a talk for Theology on Tap of Steubenville, Damon’s of Steubenville, April 2, 1998. 
  • “Daily Spiritual Exercises,” a talk for the residents of Sts. Kolbe and Clare Halls, Franciscan University of Steubenville, October 3, 2007. 
  • “A Crash Course in Salvation History,” a four-hour workshop for the Catholic students of Bowling Green State University, at St. Thomas More University Parish, Bowling Green, Ohio, September 28, 2007. 
  • “Running so as to Win,” presentation to orientation leaders, Franciscan University of Steubenville, August 21, 2007. 
  • “Leadership as Suffering,” a one-hour presentation to the Provincial Superiors of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Province of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Mishawaka, Indiana, July 27, 2007 
  • “Nuptiality in Salvation History,” a two-part, four-hour presentation to the general congress of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Province of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Mishawaka, Indiana, July 27, 2007. 
  • “Pentecost and Jubilee,” presentation at the Institute of Applied Biblical Studies summer conference, July 26, 2007, Franciscan University of Steubenville. 
  • “The Relationship between Jubilees and the Early Enochic Books (Astronomical Book and Book of the Watchers,” paper presented at the Fourth Enoch Seminar, July 8-12, 2007, Camaldoli, Italy. 
  • “The Spirituality of St. Josemaría Escrivá,” a four-part public lecture series for students, faculty and staff, February 12, 19, 26, and March 5, 2007, International Room, Franciscan University of Steubenville. 
  • “Daniel 9 and the Return to Zion,” paper presented at the Literature and History of the Persian Period section of the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Congress, Washington, D.C., November 21, 2006 
  • “The Jubilee and Jesus,” “The Jubilee and the Eucharist,” “Covenant, Oath, Seven, and the Jubilee,” presentations to the laity and clergy of the Diocese of Cuidad Juarez (Mexico) in celebration of the Diocesan Jubilee Year (2006), at the Parish of Our Lord of Mercy, Juarez, Mexico, September 24–26, 2006. 
  • “How Jesus Restores Adam’s Royalty to You,” workshop at the Summer Conference for Applied Biblical Studies, Franciscan University of Steubenville, July 27, 2006. 
  • “How Catholics View the Bible,” a talk sponsored by and delivered to the joint Franciscan University-Wheaton College student ecumenical initiative, Franciscan University Fireside Lounge, April 1, 2006. 
  • “Christian Manhood,” a public talk sponsored by Conquer Through Love men’s household, Franciscan University of Steubenville International Room, March 29, 2006. 
  • “Qumran Self-Identity and the Eschatological Restoration of Israel,” paper delivered at “Reading Between the Lines:Scripture and Community in the Dead Scrolls: A Symposium in Honor of James C. VanderKam,” March 6, 2006, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana. 
  • “Messianic Nuptiality in John 4,” presentation to orientation leaders, August 25, 2005, Franciscan University of Steubenville. 
  • “The Whole Enchilada: Eucharist as Temple in John,” at the Summer Conference for Applied Biblical Studies, Franciscan University of Steubenville, July 28, 2005 
  • “The Birds and the Bees in the Garden of Eden: Sexuality in the Old Testament”, at the Institute for Applied Biblical Studies Summer Conference, Franciscan University of Steubenville, July 27, 2004 
  • “The Place of Wisdom Literature in Salvation History,” at the Mile-Hi Scripture Institute of the Denver Biblical School (Archdiocese of Denver), Denver, Colorado, July 12, 2004 
  • “Jesus and Jubilee: What is the ‘Acceptable Year of the Lord’ proclaimed in Nazareth? (Luke 4:16–22),” guest lecture, Franciscan University of Steubenville, April 1, 2004 
  • “The Threefold Covenant with Abraham and Israel,” guest lecture for Biblical Foundations (THE 601 E), Franciscan University of Steubenville, Spring 2004 
  • “Principles for Teaching Scripture,” and “Evangelism is a Call for Everyone!” at the Diocese of Fort Wayne/South Bend Catechetical Institute Day, Wauwasee, IN, October 25, 2003. 
  • Moderator, History of Interpretation Section, Eastern Great Lakes Biblical Society Annual Meeting, Erie, PA, March 2003; presenting “The Restored Temple as ‘Built Jubilee’ in Ezekiel 40–48.” 
  • “Introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls,” Lenten Talks series, St. Sebastian Catholic Church, Byron Center, MI, March 12, 2003. 
  • “The Restored Temple as ‘Built Jubilee’ in Ezekiel 40–48,” Midwest Regional Conference of the Society of Biblical Literature, Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, MI, February 21–22, 2003. 
  • “The Final Redaction of Leviticus 25,” Eastern Great Lakes Biblical Society Annual Meeting,  Oglebay Resort, Wheeling, WV, March, 2002. 

Teaching/Research Experience

Franciscan University of Steubenville, Sept. 2004–Present
Assistant Professor of Theology (2004–2008)
Associate Professor of Theology (2008–Present) 
THE 211: “Principles of Biblical Study I: Old Testament” 
THE 212: “Principles of Biblical Study II: New Testament” 
THE 413: “Old Testament Writings: Wisdom Literature” 
THE 413: “Old Testament Writings: The Prophets” 
THE 413: “Old Testament Writings: The Pentateuch” 
THE 414/711: “New Testament Writings: Gospel of John” 
THE 436: “Elementary Hebrew” 
THE 710: “Old Testament Writings: Wisdom Literature” 
THE 710: “Old Testament Writings: The Prophets” 
THE 710: “The Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature” 

St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, Steubenville, Ohio 
Research Fellow, July 2003–August 2004 
Senior Fellow, September 2004–Present 

University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 
Research Assistant, Qumran Bible (Hebrew) publication project, Spring 2003 
Designed and coordinated the electronic formatting of parts of the Hebrew edition of the Qumran Bible project under Dr. Eugene Ulrich. 
Teaching Assistant, Wisdom Literature/Psalms, Spring 2002 
Teaching Assistant, Foundations of Theology, Spring 2001 
Taught class sessions in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and New Testament 
Research Assistant, Dead Sea Scrolls publication project, Spring 2001–Fall 2001 
Collated Hebrew texts of Dead Sea Scroll fragments of Genesis through Deuteronomy in electronic format.
Teaching Assistant, Intermediate Hebrew, Fall 2001 

Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan 
Teaching Assistant, Department of Old Testament, academic years 1996–1999 

Research Assistant, Department of New Testament, academic year 1994–1995 

Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan 
Classics Department Tutor, academic years 1991–1993 

Calvin Christian High School, Grand Rapids, Michigan 
Teacher Aide, Church History, Spring 1991 

Fellowships/Scholarships

  • Faculty Enrichment Grant, Summer 2007 [for participation in the Fourth Enoch Seminar, Camaldoli, Italy]
  • Presidential Fellowship, University of Notre Dame, 1999–2003 
  • Diamond Jubilee Scholarship, Calvin Theological Seminary, 1998–1999 
  • Wevers Scholarship, Calvin Theological Seminary, 1994–1995
    For excellence in biblical languages. 
  • Presidential Scholarship, Calvin College, 1989–1992 〉National Merit Scholarship, National Merit Scholarship Corporation, 1989–1990 
  • Sterling Scholarship, Honolulu Advertiser/Brigham Young Univ.-Hawaii, 1989–1990 
    First runner-up in general scholarship, state-wide, televised competition.

Other Awards

  • Faculty of the Year Award, Class of 2008 of Franciscan University of Steubenville
  • Staff of the Year Award, Class of 2006 of Franciscan University of Steubenville.
  • Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Gysbert Voetius Award for excellence in scholastic theology, 1998
    American Bible Society Award for excellence in biblical languages, 1997

Other Professional Experience

  • Co-Pastor, Coit Community Church, Grand Rapids, MI, January 1995–August 1998
    Pastored a multi-ethnic congregation in an inner-urban neighborhood.  
    Preached, counseled, taught scripture and catechesis, networked with community leaders, provided spiritual guidance for persons in drug rehabilitation and incarceration, fostered community economic initiatives. 
    Concurrently attended Calvin Seminary part-time, September 1995–May 1998.
  • Interim Pastor, Ottewell Christian Reformed Church, Edmonton, AB, Summer 1994
    Served as temporary pastor for vacant church.
    Preached, counseled, visited sick and elderly.

Languages

Akkadian, Aramaic, French, German, Greek (classical),  Hebrew (classical),  Latin, Ugaritic.

Professional Memberships

  • Society of Biblical Literature
  • Catholic Biblical Association

Family Life

  • Married to Dawn Michelle Bergsma (nee Koster) of Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Homeschool our six children: Peter Scott (b. 1995), Johannes Sietze (b. 1997), Hope Christina (b. 1998), Christian Emmanuel (b. 1999), Rose Maria (b. 2002), and Lucia Diane (b. 2004).