Will  Kynes
Associate Professor, Director, Preministerial Scholars
Howard College of Arts and Sciences
Biblical and Religious Studies
Office: 221 Chapman Hall
Email: wkynes@samford.edu
Phone: 205-726-4839
Curriculum Vitae

Will Kynes joined the Department of Biblical and Religious Studies in 2019 after teaching at Whitworth University for six years. Before Whitworth, he spent another six years in the UK, where he completed an M.Litt. at the University of St. Andrews, a Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, and then taught at the University of Oxford. He has an M.Div. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His research focuses on wisdom and suffering in the Hebrew Bible viewed from the varied perspectives of various biblical texts and their readers across history. His first book, My Psalm Has Turned into Weeping: Job’s Dialogue with the Psalms, earned international recognition in 2015, when it was awarded the Manfred Lautenschläger Award for Theological Promise. His second monograph, An Obituary for “Wisdom Literature”: The Birth, Death, and Intertextual Reintegration of a Biblical Corpus (OUP, 2019) challenges the modern imposition of the “Wisdom” category and its associated post-Enlightenment ideals on the biblical text. He has also edited several collections of essays, including The Oxford Handbook of Wisdom and the Bible, and published a number of scholarly articles and essays. Kynes is currently working on an introduction to biblical intertextuality and a book on how different cultures have found hope in the biblical tradition of wrestling with God, for which he undertook archival research at the National Museum of African American History and Culture as a Smithsonian Fellow in 2018.

In addition to teaching and researching, he enjoys swimming, watching college football, walking while listening to audiobooks, spending time with his wife, Vanessa, reading to his three daughters, and being involved in his local church.

Degrees and Certifications

  • B.A., University of Virginia
  • MDiv., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • MLitt, University of St. Andrews
  • Ph.D., Cambridge University

Awards and Honors

Service to the Academy


Select Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Wrestle On, Jacob: Antebellum Spirituals and the Defiant Faith of the Hebrew Bible.” Journal of Biblical Literature 140 (2021): 291–307.

  • “Morality and Mortality: The Dialogical Interpretation of Psalm 90 in the Book of Job.” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 44 (2020): 624-41.

  • Kidd, Ian James, Will Kynes, Laura E. R. Blackie, and Kate C. McLean “Narratives of Adversity and Wisdom in Ancient Ethical and Spiritual Texts.” Journal of Value Inquiry 53 (2019): 459–61.

  • “Wisdom and Wisdom Literature: Past, Present, and Future.” Pages 1–14 in The Oxford Handbook of Wisdom and the Bible. Edited by Will Kynes. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021.

  • “Wisdom Defined in Narration and Intertextual Networks: Proverbs and 1 Kings 1–11.” Pages 35–47 in Reading Proverbs Intertextually. Edited by Katharine Dell and Will Kynes. Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 629. London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2019.
  • “The ‘Wisdom Literature’ Category: An Obituary.” Journal of Theological Studies 69 (2018): 1–24.

  •   “‘Wisdom’ as Mask and Mirror: Methodological Questions for ‘Wisdom’s’ Dialogue with the Canon.” Pages 19–29 in Riddles and Revelations: Explorations into the Relationship between Wisdom and Prophecy in the Hebrew Bible. Edited by Mark J. Boda, Russel L. Meek, and Rusty Osborne. Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 634. London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2018.

  •  “The Nineteenth-Century Beginnings of ‘Wisdom Literature,’ and Its Twenty-first-Century End?” Pages 83–108 in Perspectives on Israelite Wisdom: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar. Edited by John Jarick. Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 618. London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2016.

  •  “The Modern Scholarly Wisdom Tradition and the Threat of Pan-Sapientialism: A Case Report.” Pages 11–38 in Is There a Wisdom Tradition? New Prospects in Israelite Wisdom Studies. Edited by Mark Sneed. Ancient Israel and Its Literature 23. Atlanta: SBL, 2015.

  •  “Reading Job Following the Psalms.” Pages 131–45 in The Shape of the Writings. Edited by Julius Steinberg and Timothy J. Stone. Siphrut 16. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2015.

  •  “Follow Your Heart and Do Not Say It Was a Mistake: Qoheleth’s Allusions to Numbers 15 and the Story of the Spies.” Pages 15–27 in Reading Ecclesiastes Intertextually. Edited by Katharine Dell and Will Kynes. Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 587. London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2014.

  •  “Intertextuality: Method and Theory in Job and Psalm 119.” Pages 201–13 in Biblical Interpretation and Method: Essays in Honour of John Barton. Edited by Katharine J. Dell and Paul M. Joyce. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

  •   “Job and Isaiah 40–55: Intertextualities in Dialogue.” Pages 94–105 in Reading Job Intertextually. Edited by Katharine Dell and Will Kynes. Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 574. London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2013.

  •  “Lament Personified: Job in the Bedeutungsnetz of Psalm 22.” Pages 34­–48 in Spiritual Complaint: Theology and Practice of Lament. Edited by Tim Bulkeley and Miriam Bier. Eugene, OR.: Wipf & Stock, 2013.

  •  “The Trials of Job: Re-litigating Job’s ‘Good Case’ in Christian Interpretation.” Scottish Journal of Theology 66 (2013): 174–91.

  •  “Beat Your Parodies into Swords, and Your Parodied Books into Spears: A New Paradigm for Parody in the Hebrew Bible.” Biblical Interpretation 19 (2011): 276–310.

Recent Presentations

  • “Genre in Three Dimensions: A Reception-Oriented Approach to Genre and the Death of ‘Wisdom Literature,’” Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity Seminar, co-sponsored by the Virginia Center for the Study of Religion and the Department of English, University of Virginia, 18 April 2019.

  •  “Genre as Reception and the Contingency of Critical Consensus: An Obituary for ‘Wisdom Literature,’” Use, Influence, and Impact of the Bible section; Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, 17 Nov 2018.

  •  “A Suitable Match: Eve, Enkidu, and the Boundaries of Humanity in the Eden Narrative and the Epic of Gilgamesh,” Genesis section; Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, 18 Nov 2018.

  •  “Reading Proverbs according to the Definition of Wisdom Narrated in 1 Kings 1–11,” Wisdom in Israel and Cognate Traditions section; Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, 19 Nov 2017.

  •  "Debating Suffering: The Voices of Lamentations Personified in Job’s Dialogue,” Megilloth section; Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, 18 Nov 2017.

  •  “The Death of the ‘Wisdom Genre’ and the Rebirth of ‘Wisdom’ and Genre,” Wisdom in Israel and Cognate Traditions section; Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, 21 Nov 2015.

  •  “An Obituary for ‘Wisdom’: The Birth, Death, and Canonical Reintegration of a Biblical Category,” Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise Winners’ Colloquium, Heidelberg, Germany, 11 May 2015.