Dr Peter Lockwood
Peter lectured in Old Testament at Luther Seminary, now Australian Lutheran College (ALC), for nigh on a quarter of a century, and he concluded his service as Head of Biblical Department. For many years he served as editor of the Lutheran Theological Journal and secretary of the LCA’s Commission on Theology and Inter-Church Relations, both of them positions that called for commitment and faithfulness in large measure. During his time at ALC Peter endeared himself to students with his faithful teaching, gentle manner, kindness and patience, taking a special interest in the theological education of lay people.
Peter was highly esteemed and warmly regarded by his faculty colleagues and all the staff at ALC, especially for his thoughtfulness, gentleness and delightful sense of humour. An additional commitment for Peter, but one he thoroughly enjoyed, was serving on the Uniting Church–Lutheran Dialogue in Australia.
Peter was brought up at Natimuk in Victoria and remembers a happy childhood, always being encouraged to write (his father was a newspaper editor) and along with six siblings, being left ‘to have a go’—the freedom to do things like rock-climbing on the cliff-faces of nearby Mount Arapiles. At age thirteen Peter was sent by self-sacrificing parents to Immanuel College to begin his secondary education. He went on from there to study at the University of Adelaide (BA and DipEd) and then to Luther Seminary, Adelaide, where he graduated with a BTh in 1978. During that time he took a year off and taught at St Aloysius’ College, and the next year he married his beloved Helen.
His vicarage year was at St John’s in Melbourne with Pastor James Pietsch, whom Peter remembers with affection as a sympathetic and understanding vicar father. After ordination Peter served for 10 years in parish ministry (Glenroy-Sunbury and Albury), and was then sent by the church for further study at Luther Seminary in St Paul, Minnesota, gaining his doctorate in Old Testament in 1991. His dissertation was on ‘guile and grace’ in the Jacob cycle. Peter acknowledges with gratitude the teachers who were influential in his formation as an Old Testament scholar, and in particular Erich Renner (Adelaide) and Mark Throntveit, Terrence Fretheim, and Diane Jacobson (St Paul).
During his long and fruitful career as a theological lecturer Peter maintained an abiding interest in literary and rhetorical interpretation of biblical texts, in reading the Bible for its theology and transformative power, and in wrestling with difficult texts that challenge contemporary sensitivities, especially in regard to topics like warfare and violence in the Bible and the portrayal of God as a warrior.
In his long career of teaching the sacred writings one of Peter’s greatest joys was to see student ‘getting it’; as he put it, ‘… getting deeply into the biblical text and experiencing some of the joy, wonder and surprise that come during the hard work of getting the text to speak’.
ALC positions held
- Lecturer in Old Testament
- Head of the General Ministry Program
- Head of Biblical Department
- Editor, Lutheran Theological Journal 2005–2016
- Lecturer mainly in the School of Pastoral Theology, but also in the School of Theological Studies and the School of Educational Theology
Qualifications in detail
- Bachelor of Arts (University of Adelaide, 1970)
- Diploma of Education (University of Adelaide, 1971)
- Bachelor of Theology (Luther Seminary, North Adelaide, 1978)
- Doctor of Theology (Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary, St Paul, MN, 1991)
- Ordained, 7 January 1979, St Paul, Natimuk, Victoria
Papers and publications
‘Job’s enduring innocence and impeccable piety: reassessing the stubborn tradition that says otherwise (Job 42:7–9).’ LTJ 49, no. 3 (Dec): 137–152.
‘Reading the Cain and Abel story from the angle of Earth.’ LTJ 46, no. 2 (August): 106–118.
‘God’s speech from the whirlwind: the transformation of Job through the renewal of his mind (Job 38–42).’ LTJ 45, no. 3 (Dec): 167–182.
‘Rahab: multi-faceted heroine of the book of Joshua.’ LTJ 44, no. 1 (May): 39–50.
‘Can we say farewell to the Yahwist for good?’ LTJ 41, no. 2 (August): 110–123.
‘Five pillars that totter, fall and crumble to dust: can Genesis 2 and 3 support the subordination of women?’ Interface: The Journal of the Australian Theological Forum 8, no. 2 (October): 32–47.
‘The Elijah syndrome: what is Elijah up to at Mr Horeb?’ LTJ 38, no. 2 (August): 51–62.
‘Disentangled from the web of deceit: sin and salvation in the story of Shechem and Dinah (Genesis 34)’. Sin and salvation: task of theology today III, edited by Duncan Reid and Mark Worthing, Hindmarsh, SA: ATF Press, 20–40.
‘The woman at the well: does the traditional reading still hold water?’ LTJ 36, no. 1 (May): 12–24.
‘Zipporah in the account of the Exodus: literary and theological perspectives on Exodus 4:24–26.’ LTJ 35, no. 3 (November): 116–127.
‘Jonah’s psalm: fathoming its depths.’ LTJ 34, no. 3 (November): 104–115.
‘Brothers at peace, brothers at war: the “reconciliation” of Jacob and Esau (Genesis 33).’ LTJ 31, no. 1 (May): 2–10.
‘Does 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 exclude women from the pastoral office?’ LTJ 30, no. 1 (May): 30–38.
‘Jacob’s other twin: reading the rape of Dinah in context.’ LTJ 29, no. 3 (December): 98–105.
‘Moral order or divine absurdity.’ LTJ 27, no. 2 (August): 50–57.
‘Tamar’s place in the Joseph cycle.’ LTJ 26, no. 1 (May): 35–42.
‘Guile and grace: the significance of Genesis 32–34 for the literary and theological coherence of the Jacob cycle.’ ThD dissertation, Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary, St Paul MN.
‘Rahab: multi-faceted heroine of the book of Joshua.’ Paper presented at the annual Australian and New Zealand Association of Theological Schools (ANZATS) conference, Adelaide SA.
‘Understanding sexuality: male and female in the image of God.’ ‘The basis and the blessings of marriage in the writings of Martin Luther.’ ‘Divorce and remarriage in the Bible.’ Three papers presented at Symposium on Lutheran and biblical understandings of marriage, family and sexuality, Kuala Lumpur.
‘Massacre and mayhem in the Old Testament: twelve exit strategies.’ Queensland District Pastors’ Conference.
‘Genocidal warfare in Joshua: does the implied author have qualms of conscience?’ ANZATS conference, Auckland NZ.