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Dr. Tanner and her chair!

NBTS Installs Dr. Beth Tanner as Its First Woman Chair

Dr. Beth LaNeel Tanner, an internationally recognized biblical scholar who is changing the way people around the world read the Old Testament, received one of academia's great honors on Saturday, October 26. At Second Reformed Church in New Brunswick, NJ, Dr. Tanner was installed as The Rev. Dr. Norman and Mrs. Mary Kansfield Professor in Old Testament Studies. She is the first woman to be installed to an endowed academic chair at NBTS.

NBTS gratefully acknowledges the generosity of Clifford and Barbara Feakes who contributed the endowment of this chair. An endowed chair is one of the most important gifts a seminary can receive. The Feakes' gift enables NBTS to recognize and honor the distinction of our faculty member Dr. Beth Tanner and it ensures the vitality of scholarship and teaching in the area of Old Testament Studies, which is core to the Seminary's mission.

Endowed chairs don't happen every day. Currently an endowment is established with a gift of $1.5 million. This gift is invested in an interest-bearing fund in which the principal remains intact while the interest provides a perpetual source of annual income. This funding supports the academic efforts of a faculty member who is a distinguished leader in her field and who is installed to this position. Once installed, the faculty member typically holds the chair until leaving, when the honor is bestowed upon a new scholar.

This is the third time NBTS has installed a faculty member to an endowed chair. Dr. John Coakley was installed as L. Russell Feakes Memorial Professor of Church History in 1995 and Dr. Warren Dennis was installed as The Dirk Romeyn Professor of Metro-Urban Ministry in 2009.

Read Dr. Tanner's address, "The Posture of Old Testament Studies" here

Mrs. Mary Kansfield, Rev. Dr. Norman Kansfield, Dr. Mast, Dr. Beth Tanner, Mrs. Barbara Feakes

About Dr. Tanner:
Dr. Beth LaNeel Tanner is an internationally recognized biblical scholar who is changing the way people around the world read the Old Testament. She is being installed as The Rev. Dr. Norman and Mrs. Mary Kansfield Professor in Old Testament Studies and is the first woman to be installed to an endowed academic chair at NBTS.

Women in Old Testament Studies: Rev. Tiffany Houck-Loomis, Rev. Dr. Katherine Sakenfeld, Rev. Dr. Beth Tanner, Rev. Dr. Terry Ann Smith
As a woman in biblical studies, this is one of a series of firsts. She was also the first woman to chair the Society of Biblical Literature's Book of Psalms section. In 2014 Dr. Tanner will become one of the first women to write a critical commentary on the Book of Psalms with the publication of The Book of Psalms in the New International Commentary on The Old Testament Series, which she co-authored with Rolf Jacobson and Nancy deClaissé-Walford.

As a scholar of Hebrew poetry, Dr. Tanner specializes in the psalms of lament. Her book Psalms for Today was written for laypersons and is widely read. Other books include New Proclamation Year B 2012 Advent through Holy Week and The Psalms Through the Lens of Intertextuality. She is currently contracted with Liturgical Press for a second commentary,Psalms Book 1: A New Commentary from a Feminist Perspective (this is a working title for a new series).

Dr. Tanner's dedication and scholarship translates into a direct connection between the academy and the classroom. She is currently writing a book tentatively entitled Ancient Israel and Judah: Historical and Social Context for Westminster John Knox Press. This book grew out of her classroom experience at NBTS and her understanding of a need for a different type of textbook for today's seminary students.

She joined NBTS in 1998 as Visiting Assistant Professor of Old Testament, became Assistant Professor of Old Testament in 1999, and Full Professor of Old Testament in 2012. Dr. Tanner has served as the Director of the Chapel, Chairperson of the Bible Department and the Admissions and Scholarship Committee, and she is currently the ATS Self-Study Director. She has also led a travel seminary to Israel and served on the committee for the School in the Netherlands.

Beth was raised in Central Kentucky and Southern Indiana, the youngest daughter of Neel and Bevie Tanner. She credits her father for instilling the importance of living her faith by social and political action. She graduated with Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from Purdue University in 1982. Working as a hospital pharmacist in St. Louis, she became an active member of The First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood where she served as deacon, youth leader and Stephen minister. In 1990, she began studying at Eden Theological Seminary and received an Master of Divinity degree in 1993. She enrolled in Princeton Theological Seminary while serving at Cranbury Presbyterian Church in Cranbury, NJ; Presbyterian Church on the Hill, Ocean, NJ; and Bensalem Presbyterian Church, Bensalem, PA. She was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Biblical Studies in 1998.

In 1997 Dr. Tanner was ordained by the New Brunswick Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church U.SA and served the Larison's Corner Presbyterian Church in Ringoes, NJ from 1997-1999. She has been the Parish Associate at Bound Brook Presbyterian Church, Bound Book, NJ. since 1999. Dr. Tanner is married to Daniel Weaver, Professor of Finance at the Rutgers Business School. Beth and Daniel live with their children Allison and Nicholas Weaver in Somerset, NJ.

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