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Melanie Howard, Ph.D.

School of Humanities, Religion and Social Sciences

Education history

  • Ph.D., New Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary
  • M.T.S., Biblical Studies, University of Notre Dame
  • B.A., Biblical Studies, Messiah College


FPU students, faculty, and staff make FPU a community that allows its members to flourish in many ways: academically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The centrality of Christ at FPU means that I have the opportunity to teach classes directly related to interpreting the Bible and to engage in the administration of programs that allow others to experience the life-changing power of a liberal arts education that is deeply rooted in the Christian tradition.

Dr. Melanie Howard is Associate Professor of Biblical & Theological Studies at Fresno Pacific University where she also serves as the Chair of the Biblical and Religious Studies Division. She formerly taught at Valparaiso University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Messiah College. Having completed her PhD (2015) at Princeton Theological Seminary with a dissertation on mothers in the Gospel of Mark, she previously received a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree in biblical studies at the University of Notre Dame and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree with a major in Bible and minor in peace and conflict studies at Messiah College.

Dr. Howard has taught several courses including Jesus and the Christian Community, Women and the Bible, Introduction to the New Testament, the Gospel of Mark, 1-2 Corinthians, the General Epistles, Sermon on the Mount, Koine Greek, Biblical Theology, Biblical Interpretation (18th-21st Centuries), and Non-Traditional Hermeneutics. Her research interests include the Synoptic Gospels (especially Mark), literary approaches to biblical interpretation, and non-traditional biblical hermeneutics (including feminist and disability approaches to biblical interpretation).

Dr. Howard has published several articles. These include a review of recent feminist approaches to interpreting the New Testament (Currents in Biblical Research), an article on reading the Sermon on the Mount from an immigrant perspective (Soundings), a series of articles on pedagogical strategies that can be gleaned from the book of Acts (Didaktikos), an article on interpreting Jesus's healing miracles through a cultural model of disability (Conrad Grebel Review), and an article on female agency and conversion in Joseph and Aseneth (Journal of Religion and Popular Culture). She has presented several papers at annual meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature, and she was the winner of the 2013 Word & World essay prize for doctoral candidates. She has published book reviews in the Review of Biblical Literature, Princeton Theological Review, Biblical Interpretation, Mennonite Quarterly Review, Conrad Grebel Review, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, and Biblical Theology Bulletin. She is also a regular contributor to non-academic publications such as Anabaptist World, Christian Leader, and Working Preacher.

A Mennonite (a member of MCUSA), Dr. Howard serves on a planning committee for the Mennonite Scholars and Friends Forum held at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. She also serves as the elected President of the Society for the Future of Higher Education.

External links

Selected works

  • Working Preacher commentaries:
  • “Recent Feminist Approaches to Interpreting the New Testament,” Currents in Biblical Research 20, no. 1 (Oct. 2021): 65-96.
  • “The Jerusalem Council: A Model of Dialogical Discernment,” Didaktikos: Journal of Theological Education (April 2021): 13-15.
  • “Philip, the Ethiopian Eunuch, and Student Hospitality: Looking to Paul in Teaching and Learning with Latino, First-Generation College Students (Part 2 of 3),” Didaktikos: Journal of Theological Education (February 2021): 12-14.
  • “What Does Athens Have to Do with the Classroom? Looking to Paul in Teaching and Learning with First-Generation Latino College Students,” Didaktikos: Journal of Theological Education (November 2020): 33-35.
  • “Jesus’s Healing Ministry in New Perspective: Toward a Cultural Model of Disability in Anabaptist-Mennonite Hermeneutics,” Conrad Grebel Review 38, no. 2 (Spring 2020): 94-106.
  • “Turning Cheeks at Checkpoints: Matthew 5:38-48 as a Text of Terror or Expression of Encouragement for Immigrant Audiences?” in Preaching In/And the Borderlands (eds. Charles L. Aaron and J. Dwayne Howell; Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2020), 79-91.
  • “Romanticizing Conversion Narratives: Women, Change, and Female Agency in Twilight and Joseph and Aseneth,” Journal of Religion and Popular Culture 31, no. 2 (August 2019): 127-138.
  • “Hospitality, Pedagogy, and Mission: A Model for Christian Higher Education from Acts 8:26-40, 15:1-35, and 17:16-34,” Pacific Journal 13 (2018): 17-36.
  • “A Game of Faith: Role-Playing Games as an Active Learning Strategy for Value Formation and Faith Integration in the Theological Classroom,” Teaching Theology and Religion 21, no. 4 (October 2018): 274-287.
  • “Paradigm of Peace, Silly Satire, Text of Terror: Perspectives on Matthew 5:38-48 for Immigrant Populations,” Soundings 101, no. 2 (2018): 110-146.
  • “Jesus Loves the Little Children: A Theological Reading of Mark 9:14-29 for Children with Serious Illnesses or Disabilities,” Word & World 33, no. 3 (Summer 2013): 275-283.
  • “Life is in the Blood: Envisioning Atonement with Regards to Levitical Theology,” Princeton Theological Review 37 (Fall 2007): 61-71. (published under maiden name, “Bair”)

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