(HARTFORD ? March 21, 2012) — The Board of Trustees of Hartford Seminary and President Heidi Hadsell have named Dr. Najeeb G. Awad, a scholar in systematic and contextual theology, to the faculty at Hartford Seminary.
Awad will become Associate Professor of Christian Theology at the Seminary, effective August 1.
?I am delighted that Najeeb Awad will be joining the faculty at Hartford Seminary,? Hadsell said. ?Najeeb is an innovative thinker who has shown great skill as a professor and researcher. Our students will benefit from his scholarship and his fresh approach to theology. He will add in exciting ways to the interfaith dialogue at the Seminary.?
Awad, born in Lattakia, Syria, is the first Syrian Protestant Arab systematic theologian. He currently is Lecturer in Systematic and Contextual/Intercultural Theology in the Intercultural Theology program of Gšttingen University, combined with the Evangelish-Lutherische Missionseminar, in Hermannsburg, Germany. He also was a Visiting Fellow for a year at Yale Divinity School in 2008-2009.
Awad said he decided to come to Hartford Seminary because of the diversity of the faculty. ?Such an atmosphere will be ideal for my scholarship and in teaching theology for today?s world,? he said.
?It is my belief that my non-western cultural background and life experiences, as well as my versatile intellectual and theological orientations and interests, are going to be valuable to students and also substantially enriched by being a member in the school?s faculty,? Awad said.
Awad has a Bachelor of Arts from the Near East School of Theology, Beirut Lebanon, and a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy from King?s College, London. He currently is completing his Habilitationschrift (a second Ph.D.) at MŸnster University.
?In welcoming Najeeb to Hartford Seminary, we are receiving a recognized, world-class scholar whose distinctive approach to Christian theology merges closely with the academic mission of our school,? said James Nieman, Academic Dean of the Seminary. ?Najeeb is a gentle, wise, and engaging theologian who will contribute richly to our conversations in and beyond the classroom. I am eager to have him in our midst starting next fall.?
Previously, Awad taught at the Near East School of Theology in systematic theology and Christian doctrine, lectured on Protestant Theology at the UniversitŽ La Sagesse, FacultŽ des Sciences EcclŽsiales, Beirut, Lebanon and offered a series of lectures on ?Science and Religion? at the National Presbyterian Church of Lattakia, Syria.
Awad also served as director of youth ministry and chaired the Religious Work Committee for the Reformed Churches of Syria, the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon. He was Church Senior Minister, Alhaskeh National Presbyterian Church, in 1997-1998. He was director of religious activities, Aljazerah Province, in the northeast of Syria, part of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon.
He is the author of three books: ?God without a Face? On the Personal Individuation of the Holy Spirit? (Mohr Siebeck, 2011); ?God, Man and Evil: A Theologico-Existential Study? (Codmus, 2004, in Arabic); and? The Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Matthew: A Historico-Narrative Criticism? (Al-Thaquafa, 2003, in Arabic).
Most recently he finished writing a contextual theology manuscript on the Arab Spring and the role of Arab Christians in the future of the Near East.
Awad described the strength of Hartford Seminary as ?its perception of and serious attention to the radical and challenging paradigm shift that is taking place in theological scholarship in the context of the postmodernist world we live in.?
He added, ?In educating students from Christian, Muslim and Jewish backgrounds, and creating for these students a dialogue and interaction venue, Hartford Seminary makes a giant step toward the interreligious, intercultural and cross-cultural future our world is heading to rapidly.?
?My main priority will be strengthening and developing the Christian theology scholarship at the school, by offering courses on Christian thought, which, while introducing the main elements of Christian faith, go beyond the narrow boundaries of the traditional, doctrinal and systematic framework of Christian pedagogy and touch upon practical and contextual questions that are pertinent to today?s human existence,? Awad said.
?I shall also be willing to develop a serious theological dialogue with my colleagues in Islamic Studies and see how we could together contribute to the furtherance of the interreligious relationship and mutual understanding of Islam and Christianity,? he said.
In the fall semester, Awad will teach ?Introduction to Christian Theology: The Basic Components of Christian Faith and Life.? (TH-505)
Outside work, Awad is a poet and has three poetry books published in Arabic. He enjoys art and cultural activities, as well as sports and, when he has enough time, traveling and discovering new places and sights.