Published on April 4, 2024 by Neal Embry  
2024 New OT hires
Alex Kirk (L) and Chip Hardy (R) will join the Beeson Divinity School faculty this fall. Photos courtesy of Alex Kirk and Chip Hardy

Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School announced April 4 the hiring of two new faculty members.

Chip Hardy will join Beeson’s faculty as an associate professor of divinity, while Alex Kirk will join as an assistant professor of divinity. Both men’s areas of focus will be in Old Testament and Hebrew.

Hardy comes from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he began teaching in 2014. Hardy served as associate professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, and previously taught at Louisiana College and in an adjunct role at Simmons College of Kentucky. In his time at Southeastern, Hardy’s academic work focused on the cultural and historical background of the peoples of the ancient Near East, specifically the biblical languages and the religious literature related to biblical texts.

In addition to his teaching duties, Hardy served as senior research fellow for Southeastern’s Caskey Center for Biblical Text and Translation. He is also a senior research fellow for the Kirby Laing Centre for Public Theology, based in Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Hardy has authored several books, articles and essays, including The State of Old Testament Studies: A Survey of Recent Research coauthored with M. Daniel Carroll R. (Baker Academic, forthcoming in November 2024), Going Deeper with Biblical Hebrew: An Intermediate Study of the Grammar and Syntax of the Hebrew Bible (B&H Academic, 2024), The Development of Biblical Hebrew Prepositions (SBL Press, 2022) and Exegetical Gems from Biblical Hebrew: A Refreshing Guide to Grammar and Interpretation (Baker Academic, 2019).

Hardy holds a PhD in Northwest Semitic Philology from The University of Chicago.

“It is a distinct joy and honor to join this world-class faculty,” Hardy said. “Beeson Divinity School is a special place that the Lord is using mightily to prepare ministers to serve the church in Birmingham, across North America, and around the globe. My family and I are eager to be a part of that mission starting this summer!”

Alex Kirk most recently served as the lead faculty member for biblical studies and as tutor at Crosslands Seminary, an “innovative, non-residential training course for ministry leaders in the UK and beyond.”

Kirk earned his PhD in 2022 from Durham University. His first book, Agur’s Wisdom and the Coherence of Proverbs 30 (SBL Press, 2024) resulted from research done for his dissertation and will appear this summer.

For several years, Kirk has taught internationally, serving in South Asia, Liberia, Togo, Haiti, Serbia, Uganda and, in the United States at William Tennent School of Theology in Colorado.

In addition to his forthcoming book, Kirk has written several journal articles and reviews, and also serves as editor for two forthcoming volumes, What has Wisdom to do with Law? Expanding Conceptions of Wisdom and Law in the Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism with Rony Kozman, and Does Wisdom Have a Sense of Humor? Exploring Humor in Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, and Cognate Literature with Katherine E. Southwood.

“I could not be more excited about coming to Beeson because I have long admired its reputation for academic excellence, its distinctive commitment to being a residential, ‘life together’ seminary, and its interdenominational, historic Protestant ethos,” Kirk said. “There is literally nowhere I would rather teach and serve. My family and I can't wait to get to Birmingham this summer and join the fellowship.”

Douglas A. Sweeney, dean of Beeson Divinity School, said there were many outstanding applicants for the two positions, and the Lord “guided us clearly” in hiring Hardy and Kirk. Hardy brings “many years of exceptional Hebrew teaching and scholarship to Beeson,” while Kirk brings “several years of international teaching.”

“Both bring a passion for excellent biblical exegesis, discipleship ministry and care for God’s people,” Sweeney said. “We are delighted to welcome these expert Old Testament scholars to our outstanding faculty. They both love the Lord and the ministry of the Word. They both love our mission to form ministers for the church by means of rigorous, classical theological education carried out in a tight-knit, life-together setting.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.