Dr. Tucker Ferda is assistant professor of New Testament. Since 2017 he served at PTS as visiting assistant professor and from 2013-2016 as instructor. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, where he also served as teaching fellow. In 2015, he was named a Regional Scholar of the Society of Biblical Literature, an award which “recognizes and promotes outstanding entry-level scholars.” Dr. Ferda has expertise in a wide range of areas in biblical studies, including the Gospels, the life of Jesus, the Old Testament in the New, the history of biblical interpretation, Hellenistic Jewish literature, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the theological interpretation of Scripture. Many of these interests intersect in his first book, Jesus, the Gospels, and the Galilean Crisis (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2019), published in the Library of New Testament Studies series. Dr. Ferda is a frequent presenter at regional and national SBL meetings, and he has published more than a dozen articles in top-tier biblical studies journals, including Journal of Biblical Literature, Journal of Theological Studies, New Testament Studies, and Journal for the Study of Judaism, among others. He is currently working on a monograph on the second advent hope in the New Testament and its reception history. Dr. Ferda is a member and deacon at East Liberty Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, and he frequently leads studies and provides pulpit supply in area churches.
Named this year to a tenure-track position as assistant professor of New Testament at PTS, Dr. Tucker Ferda served the Seminary as visiting assistant professor from 2017-2020 and, before that, as instructor from 2013-2016. The entire Seminary community—especially the student body—is enthusiastic about his appointment. A true scholar-teacher-mentor, in the classroom and on the printed page, Dr. Ferda offers strategies both for thinking critically about the Bible and for implementing academic learning in the circumstances and situations encountered in daily life. How did he form his approach?
If you ask Dr. Ferda, he credits his teachers. “I have been fortunate to study the Bible with some of the best scholars in the world,” he notes, “and they have filled me with an unending curiosity and sense of wonder about the New Testament.” He continues: “But those are not my only teachers. I have also been fortunate to sit at the feet of lay Bible study leaders who do not know a smidgeon of biblical Greek or anything about the world of the Bible. Yet with their KJV Bibles, worn from cover-to-cover, they spoke with a deep Scriptural wisdom born of a faithful life. All these teachers have made me who I am.”
Ferda’s academic training in biblical studies began in college at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He had initially planned to major in history and become a high-school history teacher, but thanks to the New Testament scholar who taught his required Introduction to the Bible course, his eyes were opened. “I had always loved the Bible,” he recalls, “but I learned in college that you could actually devote your life to studying, teaching, and writing about it.” So he added a second major, biblical and theological studies, and after college pursued master’s and doctoral degrees focusing on the New Testament—the first at Duke University, and the second at the University of Pittsburgh. Throughout the process, he continued to read and learn along with fellow Christians in worship and Bible study.
“I think that good teaching is a kind of sharing,” Ferda notes. “I share with my students my passion for these endlessly fascinating texts which are theologically formative as well as historically interesting, and they share with me as well.” His classes aim to expose students to the breadth and richness of New Testament scholarship, while also “preparing them for how they will encounter the Bible in their individual contexts.”
Dr. Ferda has developed expertise in a wide range of areas in the field of biblical studies—the Gospels, life of Jesus, Old Testament in the New, history of biblical interpretation, Hellenistic Jewish literature, Dead Sea Scrolls, and the theological interpretation of Scripture, for example. In addition to being a frequent presenter at regional and national SBL meetings, Dr. Ferda publishes articles in top-tier, peer-reviewed biblical studies journals. Many of his interests intersect in his first book, Jesus, the Gospels, and the Galilean Crisis (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2019), available in the prestigious Library of New Testament Studies series. In 2015 he was named a Society of Biblical Literature Regional Scholar—an award that “recognizes and promotes outstanding entry-level scholars.” He is currently working on two more books, one on the second advent of Christ in the New Testament and its reception history, and another on portraits of discipleship in the four Gospels.
Ferda continues to be intent on finding ways to bridge the academic study of the Bible with everyday devotional and practical aspects of reading and teaching Scripture. He serves a member and deacon at Pittsburgh’s East Liberty Presbyterian Church, and he frequently leads studies and provides pulpit supply in area churches. Today, he is the kind of scholar-teacher-mentor that others have inspired him to become. Just ask any Pittsburgh Seminary student who’s taken his classes!
“The Ending of Mark and the Faithfulness of God: An Apocalyptic Resolution to Mark 16:8.” Journal of Theological Interpretation (forthcoming 2019).
“‘How Can this Man Give Us Flesh to Eat?’: The Text of John 6:52 and its Intertext.” New Testament Studies (forthcoming 2019).
“Matthew 21:1-11.” Between Text and Sermon. Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology (forthcoming 2019).
Jesus, the Gospels, and the Galilean Crisis, Library of New Testament Studies 601 (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2018)
“Jesus and the Law: The Form of His Activity and the Impact of Social Reputation.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 80 (2018): 62-80.
“Reason to Weep: Isaiah 52 and the Subtext of Luke’s Triumphal Entry,” Journal of Theological Studies 66 (2015)
“Matthew’s Titulus and Psalm 2’s King on Mount Zion,” Journal of Biblical Literature 133 (2014)
“Naming the Messiah: A Contribution to the 4Q246 ‘Son of God’ Debate,” Dead Sea Discoveries 21 (2014)
“Jeremiah 7 and Flavius Josephus on the First Jewish War,” Journal for the Study of Judaism 44 (2013)
“‘Sealed’ with the Holy Spirit (Eph 1,13-14) and Circumcision,” Biblica 93 (2012)
“The Seventy Faces of Peter’s Confession: Matthew 16:16-17 in the History of Interpretation,” Biblical Interpretation 20 (2012)
“John the Baptist, Isaiah 40, and the Ingathering of the Exiles.” Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 10 (2012)