Northwestern alumnus is awarded Fulbright Fellowship

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Justin Pannkuk, a 2009 religion graduate of Northwestern College, has received a Fulbright Fellowship to study the Dead Sea Scrolls at the University of Göttingen in Germany during the 2012–13 academic year, according to the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Pannkuk plans to use the database of Dead Sea Scrolls information at Göttingen to conduct research on the relationship between the Hebrew and Aramaic materials found among the Scrolls. His research will be overseen by Dr. Reinhard Kratz, director of both the Qumran Research Institute and the Centre for Ancient and Oriental Studies. Pannkuk also will work with Dr. Annette Steudel, leader of the Qumran-Lexicon research unit; Dr. Ingo Kottsieper, an Aramaist; and Dr. Noam Mizrahi, a Hebraist.

In addition to copies of texts from the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls also contain extra-biblical documents written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Pannkuk’s research will focus on how the patriarchal traditions from the book of Genesis were received and interpreted in the Aramaic corpus of scrolls and in the Hebrew composition called “Book of Jubilees.” Pannkuk hopes his comparative study will “open up ways in which to comprehend early Judaism better.”

Pannkuk credits Northwestern College religion professor Dr. James Mead, his undergraduate adviser and author of a recommendation to the Fulbright Scholarship board, with playing a role in his successful application. “I’m proud of the [education] I’ve gotten from my alma mater,” he says, “and indebted for all the support I’ve received over the years.”

Pannkuk, originally from Webster City, Iowa, will graduate in May with a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. After a year of study in Germany, he plans to pursue his doctorate in New Testament studies. He is one of more than 1,500 U.S. students—graduate and undergraduate—receiving Fulbright Fellowships this year.

The Fulbright Program, the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in over 155 countries and is funded primarily by an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 310,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, business, media and the arts, with 16 receiving Presidential Medals of Freedom, 43 awarded the Nobel Prize, and 78 winning Pulitzer Prizes.

Pannkuk is Northwestern College’s second Fulbright winner in two years. Dr. Jennifer Feenstra, associate professor of psychology, is using her Fulbright to spend this school year teaching and conducting research in Romania.

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