prof. dr. J. Dubbink

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+31 20 59 84169
faculteit religie en theologie ( texts & tradition )
Professor of Biblical Theologie (Dirk Monshouwer endowed chair)




Being an old testament scholar and a minister who is preaching from old testament texts on a regular basis is something of a challenge. It means that as a scholar, you are constantly aware that the Hebrew bible is not just a collection of documents from the first millennium BCE, but Scripture, authoritative both for Jews and Christians. It also means that as a preacher, you are aware of a variety of problems with regard to the transmission of these texts and their meaning through the centuries between then and now, problems you often can’t simply skip to arrive at a simple, acceptable meaning for the church community of today.

Between then and now, between a scholarly and a pious reading of the bible, between the individual texts and Scripture as a whole, that is where my work has its place. The discipline, called biblical theology, is a controversial one because its hypothesis (or belief, if you want) is, that the Hebrew bible has, notwithstanding the obvious diversity, a central meaning and message. To discover this message, going to and fro between biblical research and preaching, is the task to which I am dedicated.

Current research

I have been working for several years on a project investigating the openness (or the lack of it) of Yehud, the post-exilic community centred around Jerusalem during the Persian Period (± 539-333 BCE). Biblical texts written during this period show remarkable differences in dealing with the boundaries of the community. In some texts (e.g. Ezra, Nehemiah) there is a strong tendency to keep foreigners at a distance and focus on maintaining the boundaries, to safeguard the identity of Yehud as a separate community. Other texts (e.g. Deutero- and Trito-Isaiah, Jonah, Ruth) offer much more openness towards strangers. My hypothesis is, that this difference is not only due to different external circumstances, such as tenser or more relaxed relationships with the neighbours, but is mainly the result of a different politico-theological view on what the ground rules of the community are. It is obvious that this theme is closely related to present-day issues concerning refugees, migration, and national and religious identity.

A second project is the writing of a commentary on the Book of Zechariah, in Dutch.

Educational activities

  • Biblical theological contributions to Specialisation Course Biblical Studies 1 (G_SMBW131), Text and History, taught by prof. Wido van Peursen en prof. Peter-Ben Smit.
  • Old testament part of Specialisation Course Biblical Studies 2 (G_SMBW132), ‘A little lower than the angels’, a course on Biblical Anthropology, together with prof. Peter-Ben Smit.

Main publications

  • Waar is de Heer? dynamiek en actualiteit van het woord van JHWH bij Jeremia (diss.). Gorinchem (Narratio) 1997. [Where is the Lord? Dynamics and actuality of the Word of YHWH in Jeremiah]
  •  ‘Jeremiah: Hero of Faith or Defeatist? Concerning the Place and Function of Jeremiah 20.14-18’, in: JSOT 87 (1999), 76-84.
  • ‘Getting Closer to Jeremiah. The Word of YHWH and the Literary-Theological Person of a Prophet’, in: Martin Kessler (ed.), Reading the Book of Jeremiah: A Search for Coherence. Winona Lake (Eisenbrauns) 2004, 25-39.
  • Heiligheid als grens of als mogelijkheid. Een pleidooi voor bijbels en communicatief spreken over wat heilig is. (oratie). Amsterdam (VU Drukkerij) 2007. (Holiness as a Boundary or as an Opportunity. A Pledge for a Biblical and Communicatively Discourse on Holiness).
  • ‘Ähnlich und doch ganz anders: Priester und Propheten über die Begriffe ‘heilig’ und ‘unrein’’, in: Communio Viatorum 50 (2008-I), 6-19.
  • ‘”Reality is highly overrated” – God in Language and Reality in Brueggemann’s Theology of the Old Testament’, in: Communio Viatorum 51 (2009), 240-249.
  • ‘Jeremia’ in: Klaas Spronk en Archibald van Wieringen (red), De Bijbel Theologisch.Hoofdlijnen en Thema’s. Zoetermeer (Meinema) 2011, 91-102.
  • ‘“Niet omwille van jullie”. De argumentatie voor Israëls herstel in Ezechiël 36:16-38’, in: ACEBT 26 (2011), 65-76. [“Not because of you”. Arguments for the Restoration of Israel in Ezekiel 36:16-38]
  • ‘A Story of Three Prophets – Synchronic and Diachronic Analysis of Jeremiah 26’, in: W.Th. van Peursen en J.W. Dyk (eds), Tradition and Innovation in Biblical Interpretation. Studies Presented to Professor Eep Talstra on the Occasion of his Sixty-Fifth Birthday (Studia Semitica Neerlandica Vol. 57). Leiden/Boston (Brill) 2011, 13-30.
  • ‘Heilige plaatsen in de bijbel – Waarom en hoe?’, in: Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Kerk en Recht, 5 (2011), 124-139 [Sacred Places in the Bible – why and how?]
  • ‘“Misschien” – Een eenvoudig bijwoord als theologische blikopener’, in: Interpretatie jrg. 20, mei 2012), 30-33. [”Perhaps” – A Simple Adverb as a Theological Eye-Opener]
  • ‚Unreinheit und Sünde – Der Unterschied zwischen kultischer und ethischer Bewertung des menschlichen Handelns’, Communio Viatorum LVI (2014/3), 234-247.
  • ‘Dogmatisch, christelijk of gelovig Bijbellezen? De Bijbel in de Christelijke dogmatiek van Van den Brink en Van der Kooi’, in: J. Dubbink (red.), Bijbelse theologie (ACEBT vol. 30), Bergambacht 2015, 123-132. [Reading with a Dogmatic, Christian or Believing Attitude? The Bible in the ‘Christelijke dogmatiek’ of Gijsbert van den Brink and Cees van der Kooi]

In print

  • ‘Vissen in de beek – herkomst en doel van het visioen over de tempelbeek (Ez. 47:1-12)’ in: Gerrit van Oord e.a. (red.), Festschrift ... (to be published Spring 2016).
Complete list here


Curriculum vitae

Born in Almelo, NL (1958).

  • 1976-1979: Bachelor Physics /Mathematics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
  • 1978-1985: Bachelor and Master Theology, University of Amsterdam, MA 1984, M.Div. 1985.
  • 1991-1997: PhD study, research on the theology of the Book of Jeremiah, public defence 11/4/1997, University of Amsterdam, promoter prof. Karel A. Deurloo.
  • 1986-now: minister Dutch Reformed Church, since 2004 renamed Protestant Church in the Netherlands: Middelburg (1986-1994), Breukelen (1994-2001), Zeist (2001-2010) and Uithoorn (2010-now).
  • 2006-now: professor for Biblical Theology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, endowed chair on behalf of the Dirk Monshouwer Foundation.


Page edited: 22/1/2016


Protestantse Gemeente - Predikant Uithoorn, 07 maart 2010
Laatste wijzigingen Nevenwerkzaamheden: Amsterdam 27 januari 2017