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James L. Papandrea Promoted to Full Professor of Church History and Historical Theology

May 22, 2018

The Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Board of Trustees unanimously approved the promotion of Dr. James L. Papandrea (G-ETS/NU 1998) from associate professor to full professor of church history and historical theology at their bi-annual meeting on May 10, 2018. His installation service will be held this fall on Thursday, September 20, 2018.

“Dr. Papandrea is a highly-published scholar, penning valuable works for the academy and the church,” said Dr. Charles Cosgrove, who served as the chairperson for the promotion committee. “Always writing accessibly, he speaks with ecumenical spirit and contagious enthusiasm to a wide audience of readers.”

Papandrea joined the faculty of Garrett-Evangelical in the fall of 2008. His research interests have included historical and dogmatic theology, the connection between contemporary/practical theology and historical theology, the development of doctrine in the early and medieval Church, and Johannine literature and its reception throughout the history of the Church.

A prolific author, Papandrea has written over a dozen books and numerous articles. His writings span from traditional academic works for scholars, pastors, and seminary students to academically informed books that examine Christianity and pop culture in a way that is accessible to anyone. Papandrea’s most recent books are From Star Wars to Superman: Christ Figures in Science Fiction and Superhero Films (Sofia Institute Press, 2017) and The Earliest Christologies: Five Images of Christ in the Postapostolic Age (IVP Academic, 2016). In addition to teaching at Garrett-Evangelical, as well as being a regular speaker in parish and lay formation programs, he is also a published songwriter and professional musician.

“I'm grateful for all the students, colleagues, and administrators over the years who have supported me and provided inspiration and encouragement,” said Papandrea. “I am truly in a new phase of my career and I’m excited to see what it will bring.”

In April 2018, Papandrea was named a Springtime Ambassador by the Springtime of Faith Foundation at the foundation’s annual Unity conference for his work in ecumenism, especially in his teaching and leading tours in Rome. The Springtime of Faith Foundation is an ecumenical organization that encourages and facilitates relationships and dialogue across church and denominational boundaries. In his acceptance speech, Papandrea said, “My life’s journey has been a crooked path, but we can’t regret the journey–it makes us who we are. And one by-product of my journey is that it has made me bi-lingual, able to speak both Catholic and Protestant. And some of the greatest joys of my career have been those times when I’ve been asked to be a translator between the two, participating in the building of bridges.”

Papandrea has a bachelor arts from the University of Minnesota, a master of divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a doctor of philosophy from the Garrett-Evangelical and Northwestern University joint PhD program. He has also studied Roman history at the American Academy in Rome, Italy. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the North American Patristics Society, and the Catholic Association of Music. When he’s not teaching or performing music, he is usually traveling, taking photographs and making pilgrimages to places like Rome and Assisi.