J. P. Kang, PhD
J. P. Kang(he/him), Ph.D., began teaching Bible courses at The Seattle School in 2014, first as an Adjunct and then as an Affiliate faculty member. He has also been a member of the Intercultural Credibility Committee since its inception in 2020.
J. P. enjoys working with students and helping them become better readers of the Bible, sharing with them his own journey of surprising discoveries. He thrives on helping students who come from spiritually toxic backgrounds begin to heal their relationships with the text. A language nerd at heart, he delights in constantly finding all kinds of examples from daily life to illustrate the dynamics of biblical language (especially Hebrew) and imagery. He views teaching at The Seattle School as a privilege, something he “gets to” do.
J. P.’s full-time vocation is as Pastor of the Japanese Presbyterian Church of Seattle (established 1907), where he gets to care for a wonderfully diverse ohana!
He received his M.Div. and Th.M. (Bible) at Princeton Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Bible from Union Presbyterian Seminary (Richmond, VA) with a dissertation entitled “A Dictionary of Epigraphic Hebrew.” His dissertation contains the vocabulary found in Iron Age Hebrew inscriptions from about 40 Near Eastern sites that were roughly contemporary with the period of the composition of the Hebrew Bible and is a research tool.
J. P. tries to model faith as a “living relationship of belief, trust, commitment, and mystery” (see Rick Osmer, Teaching for Faith). A Presbyterian, J. P. is very open to learning from other traditions. He is growing into his identity as a writer and speaker with a distinct perspective on and relationship to the biblical tradition that allows him to correlate it in fresh ways for contemporary audiences. J. P. also has come to question the logocentric nature of his tradition and to seek ways in which the good news can be proclaimed in less verbally dense forms (e.g., through creative visual, sonic, and material forms). His social media bios often identify him as a “Digital scribe.”
He loves being immersed in foreign places and documenting those occasions as resources for teaching and preaching. In 2022, he was able to spend extended time in the Holy Land and South Korea, and the memories of those trips intersect his life every week. In the near future, he hopes to visit Japan (where he spent nearly a decade growing up), Scotland, and again South Korea. Also, music is one of his favorite languages. J. P. is married to Keren and together they have three children—Amanda, Olivia, and Linus—who keep them constantly on their toes and are always begging for a dog.