Dr John Van Maaren visits Heidelberg University’s Faculty of Theology on a two-year Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship for postdoctoral researchers. The theologian from the United States is studying the Gospel of Mark as a document of Jewish religious history. Dr Van Maaren’s host is the Heidelberg New Testament scholar Matthias Konradt.
The Gospel of Mark is traditionally understood as a narrative about Jesus set in a Gentile Christian milieu. It has been largely left out of the increasing attempts recently to interpret New Testament texts as Jewish literature - despite the attention it devotes to issues such as the law, the temple or the people of Israel, Prof. Konradt underlines. As the oldest gospel, Mark is of fundamental importance for questions about the historical Jesus, reconstructing the beginnings of Christianity, and the relationship between the four canonical gospels. These are issues that Dr Van Maaren will also examine in his research.
From 2004 to 2011, John Van Maaren studied mathematics, philosophy and theology at Trinity International University in Chicago (USA). After teaching for two years at a high school in the United States he spent the next six years at McMaster University in Ontario (Canada), where he gained his doctorate in 2019 with a dissertation on the Gospel of Mark and early Judaism. He was a research fellow at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem (Israel) from 2017 to 2019. Since 2019 the theologian has been on the staff of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (USA).
With its Research Fellowship, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation supports outstanding postdoctoral researchers and experienced academics of all nations and disciplines in implementing a collaborative research project in Germany. Humboldt Research Fellowships are awarded for a period of up to 24 months.