David J. Downs

Associate Dean for the Center for Advanced Theological Studies and Associate Professor of New Testament StudiesSchool of Theology

Contact Information
626-204-2013
Education
BA, Clemson University
MDiv, Fuller Theological Seminary
PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary

David Downs joined the Fuller faculty in 2007 and was appointed associate dean for the Center for Advanced Theological Studies (CATS) as of September 1, 2016. Prior to coming to Fuller, he was a teaching fellow at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, and a visiting assistant professor at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Dr. Downs’s research has focused on Pauline theology, economic issues in the New Testament and early Christian literature, and the Apostolic Fathers. His dissertation, The Offering of the Gentiles: Paul’s Collection for Jerusalem in Its Chronological, Cultural, and Cultic Contexts, was published by Mohr Siebeck in 2008 and reprinted (with a foreword by Beverly Gaventa) by Eerdmans in 2016. In 2013, Downs and Matthew L. Skinner edited The Unrelenting God: Essays on God’s Action in Scripture in Honor of Beverly Roberts Gaventa (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans). Downs’s most recent book is Alms: Charity, Reward, and Atonement in Early Christianity (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2016).

Downs has also published articles in numerous peer-reviewed journals such as Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Horizons in Biblical Theology, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Journal of Biblical Literature, Journal of Early Christian Studies, Journal of Theological Interpretation, Journal of Theological Studies, and New Testament Studies. He has contributed essays to Engaging Economics: New Testament Scenarios and Early Christian Reception, The Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (2d ed.), The Background of the New Testament, The New Interpreter’s Bible One Volume Commentary, The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, The Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics, and The Apostolic Fathers and Paul.

In 2011, Downs and his wife, Jen, a doctor of infectious diseases and a clinical medical researcher, were awarded a Lilly Theological Scholars Collaborative Research Grant for a cross-disciplinary project entitled “New Creation Is Everything: Christian Identity, Male Circumcision, and HIV/AIDS in Northwest Tanzania.” Part of this research was published in the British Medical Journal Open. As a result of this collaborative research project, the Downses, along with Tanzanian colleagues Dr. Samuel Kalluyva and Rev. Dr. Agrey Mwakisole, were awarded a 2014–2015 Grand Challenges Explorations Grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a project entitled “From Obstacles to Opportunities for Male Circumcision in sub-Saharan Africa.” The Downses spend several months a year living in Mwanza, Tanzania, where David regularly volunteers as a teacher at St. Paul College (formerly P.A.G. Bible College).

Downs is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association, and the North American Patristics Society. Downs also serves on the editorial board of the Catholic Biblical Quarterly.

Courses Taught

  • NS500: New Testament 1: Gospel and Acts
  • NS501: New Testament 2: Romans–Revelation
  • NT500: New Testament Introduction
  • NS522: Wealth and Poverty in the New Testament
  • NE506: NT Exegesis: 1 Corinthians (Greek)
  • NE506: NT Exegesis: Pastoral Epistles (Greek)
  • NE526: NT Exegesis: 1 Corinthians (English)
  • NS522: Wealth, Poverty, and the New Testament
  • NS531: Pauline Theology
  • NT826: Advanced Greek: Apostolic Fathers (PhD Seminar)
  • NT866: Critical Issues in the Study of Paul (PhD Seminar)

Areas of Expertise, Research, Writing, and Teaching

Pauline epistles, Gospels, New Testament Greek exegesis, economic issues in early Christianity, Greek epigraphy, Greco-Roman voluntary associations, Christianity in the second century, cultural hermeneutics, biblical interpretation and public health

Publications

Books

  • Alms: Charity, Reward, and Atonement in Early Christianity. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, April 15, 2016.
  • The Unrelenting God: Essays on God’s Action in Scripture, in Honor of Beverly Roberts Gaventa. Co-edited with Matthew L. Skinner. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013.
  • The Offering of the Gentiles: Paul’s Collection for Jerusalem in Its Chronological, Cultural, and Cultic Contexts. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament II/248. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

  • Co-authored with Wil Rogan. “‘Let Us Teach Ourselves First to Follow the Commandment of the Lord’ (Pol. Phil. 4.1): An Additional Note on Almsgiving as ‘the Commandment,’” New Testament Studies 62 (2016): in press.
  • “‘Love Covers a Multitude of Sins’: Redemptive Almsgiving in 1 Peter 4:8 and Its Early Christian Reception,” Journal of Theological Studies 65 (2014): 489-514.
  • “Justification, Good Works, and Creation in Clement of Rome’s Appropriation of Romans 5-6,” New Testament Studies 59 (2013): 415-32.
  • “‘The Body We Leave Behind:’ A Qualitative Study of Obstacles and Opportunities for Increasing Uptake of Male Circumcision among Tanzanian Christians,” British Medical Journal Open 2013; 3:e002802. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002802. Co-authored with Jennifer A. Downs, Lucas D. Fuunay, Mary L. Fuunay, Mary Mbago, and Agrey Mwakisole.
  • “Prosopological Exegesis in Cyprian’s De opere et eleemosynis,” Journal of Theological Interpretation 6 (2012): 279-94.
  • “Faith(fulness) in Christ Jesus in 2 Timothy 3:15,” Journal of Biblical Literature 131 (2012): 123-40.
  • “Redemptive Almsgiving and Economic Stratification in 2 Clement,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 19:4 (2011): 493-517.
  • “The Specter of Exile in the Story of Jonah,” Horizons in Biblical Theology 31:1 (2009): 27-44.
  • “‘The Offering of the Gentiles’ in Rom 15.16,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 29:2 (2006): 173-86.
  • “Paul’s Collection and the Book of Acts Revisited,” New Testament Studies 52:1 (2006): 50-70.
  • “‘Early Catholicism’ and Apocalypticism in the Pastoral Epistles,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 67:4 (2005): 641-61.

Articles/Chapters in Reference Works

  • “Economics” and “Hellenism,” in The Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (2d ed.; ed. Joel B. Green; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2013).
  • “Economics,” in The World of the New Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts (eds. Joel B. Green and Lee Martin McDonald; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2013).
  • “1-2 Timothy,” “2 Corinthians,” “Hedonism,” “Materialism,” “Titus,” “Vices and Virtues, Lists of,” and “Wealth,” in The Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics (ed. Joel B. Green; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011).
  • “Letters,” in The New Interpreter’s Bible One Volume Commentary (eds. David L. Peterson and Beverly Roberts Gaventa; Nashville: Abingdon, 2010), 970-72.
  • “Chronology of the NT,” in The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (ed. Katharine Doob Sakenfeld; Nashville: Abingdon, 2006), 1:633-36.

Book Chapters and Invited Articles

  • “The Pauline Concept of Union with Christ in Ignatius of Antioch,” in The Apostolic Fathers and Paul (eds. Todd D. Still and David Wilhite; Edinburgh: T & T Clark: in press).
  • “Pauline Ecclesiology,” Perspectives in Religious Studies 40 (2014): 87-99.
  • “Reading Galatians in Tanzania in Light of Male Circumcision as an HIV/AIDS Intervention,” coauthored with Jennifer A. Downs, Lucas D. Fuunay, Mary L. Fuunay, Mary Mbago, and Agrey Mwakisole, in Global Perspectives on the New Testament (eds. Mark Roncace and Joseph Weaver; Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2013), 162-64.
  • “The God Who Gives Life That Truly Is Life: Meritorious Almsgiving and the Divine Economy in 1 Timothy 6,” in The Unrelenting God: Essays on Divine Action in Scripture in Honor of Beverly Roberts Gaventa (eds. David J. Downs and Matthew L. Skinner; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013), 242-60.
  • “Is God Paul’s Patron? The Economy of Patronage in Pauline Theology,” in Engaging Economics: New Testament Scenarios and Early Christian Interpretation (eds. Bruce Longenecker and Kelly Liebengood; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), 129-56.

Non-Academic Writings

  • Updated Curriculum: The Practice Courses,” in Fuller: Theology, News & Notes (Fall 2013): 37, 41.
  • “Second Corinthians,” in The CEB Study Bible (Nashville: Abingdon, 2013).

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