Current Projects Past Projects

Ancient Context, Ancient Culture Series

The Bible and the Land and Jesus, The Middle Eastern Storyteller

Gary M. Burge


Gary M. Burge is a professor of New Testament in the Department of Biblical & Theological Studies at Wheaton College and Graduate School.  He is a noted expert on the Middle East, its churches, and its history in the Hellenistic period.

Burge was a student at the American University of Beirut during the early 1970s, studying politics and Islam as the Lebanese civil war raged.  Due to school closings caused by the country’s political chaos, Burge began studying at Beirut’s Near East School of Theology, an Arab-Armenian seminary, and there met the now-famous New Testament scholar Kenneth E. Bailey who has become a lifelong friend. It was also under Bailey in Beirut that Burge immersed himself in what have become his life’s twin navigational markers: the New Testament and the world of the Middle East.  Burge returned to the United States in 1973 to continue study at the University of California.  He then attended Fuller Seminary and graduated with an M.Div. in 1978.  He then moved to King's College, Aberdeen University, Scotland, where he earned a Ph.D in New Testament, studying under the well-known I. Howard Marshall.

In 1987 Burge published his first book, The Anointed Community, The Holy Spirit in the Johannine Tradition (Eerdmans), and his interest in the literature of John continues to this day.  Burge has since authored commentaries on John and The Letters of John for The NIV Application Commentary Series.
Burge is a member of the evangelical advocacy group, Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding, which works to facilitate dialogue between Arab and western church leaders.  He also serves on the board of Middle East Fellowship, a reconciliation ministry based in Bethlehem. 

In 1993, Burge described the suffering of the Palestinian church in modern Israel via a book entitled, Who Are God’s People in the Middle East? (Zondervan).  A decade later Burge wrote a second book on Palestine, entitled Whose Land? Whose Promise? What Christians Are Not Being Told About Israel and the Palestinians (Pilgrim Press 2003), which earned a number of awards from national journals. In 2009 he co-authored a major college textbook The New Testament in Antiquity: A Survey of the New Testament in It’s Cultural Setting (Zondervan) and later this year will release a volume on New Testament theology:  The Land in the New Testament (Baker) exploring how the earliest Christians upended the religious territorialism of their day.

As a full time professor of New Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School, Burge steeps his students in the Middle Eastern cultural context of the New Testament. “Jesus' cultural reflexes were different than ours and unless we understand him in his world, we risk misrepresenting his story,” says Burge. “The setting of first-century Palestine must be the lens through which we read the gospels. This has been the passion of my career since the 1970s and I want my students to inherit it.”

Burge is the author of the first two books in the acclaimed Ancient Context, Ancient Faith series from Zondervan, entitled The Bible and the Land and Jesus, The Middle Eastern Storyteller.  The books release August 2009

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May 2009