on faculty since 2012
M.A., Jerusalem University College, Jerusalem, Israel, 2012
B.A., Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, Illinois, 2009
“A study of theology is not just a pursuit of knowledge, but it is a lifelong quest to learn about God’s word.”
Such is the perspective of Emily Thomassen, instructor of theology. Thomassen, who spent three years of graduate studies in Israel, believes that a faith constantly seeking understanding is a dynamic faith that will grow continuously through study. She gained this perspective during her undergraduate years at Trinity, where she earned her B.A. in theology. Her years in Israel allowed Thomassen to gain a deep understanding of the historical, geographical, and cultural world in which the Bible was written.
Thomassen’s research focuses primarily on the significance of historical geography for biblical understanding in both the Old and New Testament. Her research interests are focused primarily on the importance of geography in biblical narratives, particularly in the relationships between Elijah, Moses, and Jesus.
“It is my core belief that the Bible is the authoritative word of God. It is true that the Bible was written thousands of years ago to people living in a time and place very different from our own, but the truths of the Bible surpass all time and space,” said Thomassen. “I want to impress upon my students that the Bible is not merely an abstract set of truths, but a story of God’s act of redeeming the whole world that is set in a particular historical time period, region of the world, and culture.”
Thomassen believes that “by immersing themselves in the world of the Bible, students will gain new perspectives on God and his message to the world in its original context. Theology, the study of God, invites students to think seriously about what they believe and why they believe it, and even more so it invites them to investigate how their beliefs should shape the way that they live,” said Thomassen. “Faith seeking understanding goes hand in hand with participation in the life of a vibrant community of learning, prayer, and service.”
Before coming to teach at Trinity, Thomassen taught biblical geography courses that included trips to Israel, Jordan and Egypt. Thomassen’s experiences, as both student and teacher, in classes where she was the minority in religion, ethnicity, and worldview contributed to a new perspective on the gospel message and her approach to teaching in a diverse setting. While in Israel, she taught in a diverse classroom made up of high school students from Christian and Muslim backgrounds. For Thomassen, learning about the students’ backgrounds and encouraging them to share their experiences with one another was an important part of the process in connecting various teaching points to each specific student.
“Jesus interacted with diverse populations, choosing the region of Galilee as the training ground for his disciples. There he encountered Romans, Jews, Samaritans, Syro-Phonecians, pagans, the blind, the lame, the sick and demon possessed,” said Thomassen. “I aim to incorporate Jesus’ teachings in this area in order to equip students to discern their calling and become passionate followers of Jesus Christ.”
Society of Biblical Literature
“The Tel Dan Inscription,” presented at Jerusalem University College, November 2010.
“Mahane Dan,” presented at Jerusalem University College, October 2010.
“Routes through the Judean Wilderness,” presented at Jerusalem University College, September 2010.
“The Historical-Geographical Relevance of Edom,” presented at Jerusalem University College, November 2009.
“Walk Where Jesus Walked: First Century Worldviews,” presented at OPUS at Trinity Christian College, April 2009.
“A Clash of Cultures: The Maccabean Revolt against Hellenism,” presented at the Chicagoland Christian Research Conference at Trinity Christian College, March 2009.
“The Deception of Tamar,” presented at OPUS at Trinity Christian College, April 2008.