Bill Bellinger Named Chair of Religion Department

Dec. 13, 2005
News Photo 3282William (Bill) Bellinger

Baylor University Interim President William D. Underwood has announced the appointment of Dr. William H. Bellinger, professor and director of graduate studies in the department of religion, as chair of the religion department, effective June 1, 2006. The appointment was made following the recommendation of department of religion faculty.

During the spring 2006 semester, Dr. Naymond Keathley, professor of religion, will serve as acting chair while Bellinger is on a research sabbatical. Bellinger has been serving as acting chair since June, when he took over from Dr. Randall O'Brien, who has been serving as interim provost at Baylor.

"Dr. Bellinger has been an outstanding leader and colleague while serving as acting chair for the past several months," Underwood said. "He is a distinguished scholar, theologian and teacher in his own right, and I am pleased that he will continue to lead an academic department that values excellence in the classroom and exceptional scholarship by members of its faculty."

"Bill Bellinger is one of the most widely respected Old Testament scholars in America, and in the area of Psalms scholarship, one of the most highly regarded in the world," O'Brien said. "For more than 20 years now he has served Baylor students, the department of religion and the wider Baylor family as a beloved professor, administrator and churchman. Under his leadership the department of religion will reach unprecedented heights in scholarship, classroom excellence and service.

"We are blessed to have one who combines competence, character and commitment to Christ and his church lead the department as we commit to carry on our vital heritage of academic and Christian excellence here at Baylor."

A native of South Carolina, Bellinger graduated magna cum laude from Furman University with a bachelor's degree in philosophy. He earned his master of divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and his doctorate from the University of Cambridge.

Prior to arriving at Baylor in 1984, he served as assistant professor of Old Testament at Bethel Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., and at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

An Old Testament specialist with particular focus on the Psalms, Bellinger is the author of Psalms: Reading and Studying the Book of Praises; The Testimony of Poets and Sages in the All the Bible Series; and Leviticus and Numbers (New International Biblical Commentary, Old Testament Series), and he regularly presents scholarly papers for such groups as the Society for Biblical Literature and the Southwest Region Biblical Studies Seminar. Bellinger currently is working on Old Testament Theology: Creation, Covenant, Prophecy; Psalms for the Smyths & Helwys Bible Commentaries; and Worship and Theology in the Old Testament.

Active in professional organizations, Bellinger has served as president of the Society of Biblical Literature, Southwest Region and the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion and as CFO for the Southwest Commission on Religious Studies. He received the Centennial Professor award and grant from Baylor in 1989 and was named Outstanding Tenured Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1996 and Outstanding Professor in the category of research in 2000.

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