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Student of the Month: Almond Ka Kwan Sin

Almond Ka Kwan Sin (she/her/hers)

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Almond came to the United States 2014 to pursue Th.M. at Princeton Theological Seminary. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel at Vanderbilt University. She has recently joined Union Presbyterian Seminary for one year as an extern under the Theology and Practice Program in the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt. She will assist Dr. Samuel Adams with the Old Testament I course in the fall term and offer an elective course in the spring.

What are your interests in your field of study/work?

My research interests include biblical reception history and women in the Bible. The Bible is filled with a large cast of neglected women—mothers, wives, and daughters; Israelite and foreign; champions, survivors and victims, who contribute to the rich biblical history. Their obscured portrayals have been characterized not only in literary writings since antiquity, but discussed and imagined by commentators, poets, artists, and playwrights in the later centuries. My dissertation project focuses on the reception history of primordial women in Genesis 4-11. The purpose of this project is to illustrate the versatile contours of the minor characters such as Cain’s wife, Noah’s wife, the three women related to Lamech and the daughters of men from possible Near Eastern cultural references to modern interpretations on them.

Other than my dissertation, I will offer an elective course on Neglected and Anonymous Women in the Old Testament and their Survivals in spring 2022. This course focuses on the rich hermeneutical history of subverted, neglected and anonymous female biblical characters. It will address literary, theological and ethical issues raised by the interpretations of them. Through the study of anonymous women in the Bible, I hope students will not only enhance an appreciation of the Old Testament as a complex literary classic, but they will also be able to develop critical skills in biblical interpretation and recognize the consequences of scripture in various interpretive communities through history.

Who has inspired you to want to do the work you want to do?

The first time I met Prof. Choon-Leong Seow was in his lecture on the Book of Job in 2012 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). I was first attracted by the topic as the book is about suffering. Shame of being diagnosed with depression, my mental illness gradually pushed me away from people. While the topic of Job deeply touched me, I was more curious about this passionate, humorous, yet very thoughtful speaker who filled with enthusiasm when he illustrated his arguments. Later I decided to take a break from ministry and I got an opportunity to pursue an advanced academic degree at Princeton Theological Seminary. The breadth and depth of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament scholarship deeply enthralled me. My M.A., then Ph.D. study at Vanderbilt University has led me to view the Hebrew Bible through even broader lenses. My professors in both institutions have not only solidified my training in Semitic languages, their endeavor to biblical scholarship has also a profound impact on my passion to the field. The closer I worked with Prof. Seow, the more I learned how this erudite scholar dedicated his time and energies in biblical scholarship. His meticulous attention to textual criticism, philology, poetry and reception history has deeply inspired me. His insistence on scholarly excellence continues to challenge me broaden my academic horizon. I believe everyone studied under him has an unique inspiration by this well-round scholar.

I am a lucky one, too.

Something you have learned or enjoyed recently?

I used to have a group of friends who gathered once in a while to watch a movie and discuss theology together when I was studying M.Div. at CUHK. My Ph.D. cohorts at Vanderbilt further expanded my interest from movies to comics and theology. These were and still are one of the fondest memories in my theological journey. Like everyone, the pandemic forced me to stay home and watch more Netflix in the past year. I have now created a list of movies, TV dramas, questions and reflections therewith that can be used for future gatherings. Hopefully it won’t take too much longer before everyone feels comfortable to meet in person again.

What brings you hope?

I was inspired by numerous biblical scholars, theologians and ethicists in religious studies, whom I encountered in books, academic journals and in persons. I am now preparing the very best of myself in both writing and teaching. I hope one day my knowledge and passion in Hebrew Bible will be able contribute to nurture young scholars, so as my predecessors have nurtured me through their work and teaching.

Social media handles? (Twitter/Instagram)

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