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Jack Levison
Jack Levison is the W. J. A. Power Professor of Biblical Hebrew and Old Testament Interpretation at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. He is the author of "Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life" (Paraclete Press, 2012), "Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life." He is also the author of spiritchatter, a regular blog at

For insight into Fresh Air, see this video:

Also, check out Eugene Peterson's praise for Fresh Air:

Raised in Levittown, New York, Jack left to attend Wheaton College, where his Greek professor captured his imagination with visions of Cambridge University. When he returned from England to pursue doctoral studies at Duke University, Jack fell in love with a divinity student, Priscilla Pope, alongside of whom he works at SMU. Jack is an internationally recognized scholar, whose books have received wide acclaim. Scot McKnight, author of The Jesus Creed, characterized Filled with the Spirit as "the benchmark and starting point for all future studies of the Spirit," and Walter Brueggemann hailed it as "inspired." Eugene Peterson has written that "Jack Levison studies, prays and writers of the place of the Holy Spirit in our lives with more skill and understanding than anyone I know."

Jack has received grants from the National Humanities Center, the Lilly Fellows Program, the Louisville Institute, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Rotary Foundation, the International Catacomb Society, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Jack directs an interdisciplinary, international research project, The Historical Roots of the Holy Spirit, and he is founding editor of a new book series, Ekstasis: Religious Experience from Antiquity to the Middle Ages.

Entries by Jack Levison

A Tirade For The Trendy Church

(95) Comments | Posted January 21, 2016 | 5:04 PM

I get up early on Sunday morning and drive to the manufacturing district, which is totally desolate. I'm self-conscious because I'm visiting a hipster church. Naked, too, because I've got no tats. Not even a Bible verse across my ribs from my grad school days. And, at 59, I'm totally...

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Catching Our Breath: Life After Beirut and Paris

(0) Comments | Posted November 19, 2015 | 6:26 PM

Co-written with William Glass, graduate student at Southern Methodist University.

A few years ago, a friend whose young husband had died talked about her reaction to his death. It didn't happen right away. She'd had to take care of her young children--now more so than ever--so she...

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Too Old for Outrage? My Reaction to the Hospital Bombing in Afghanistan

(0) Comments | Posted October 16, 2015 | 5:35 PM

Am I too old for outrage? Too inured to indecency?

I was born during the Cold War, too young for Vietnam but old enough to remember the day we heard that our quarterback cousin from the hills of Pennsylvania had stepped on a mine in faraway Vietnam. We collapsed...

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Phyllis Tickle: A Personal Reflection

(0) Comments | Posted September 25, 2015 | 6:01 PM

Phyllis Tickle died in her sleep this week, after four months of living with cancer. Phyllis is known to the publishing world as a powerhouse. She spearheaded the religion section of Publishers Weekly, taught at Furman University and Rhodes College, served as dean of the humanities at The...

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Emanuel AME Church Reminds Us of Religion's Intrinsic Connection to Politics

(6) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 8:03 PM

"Religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting into the political realm." Presidential candidate Jeb Bush said this in response to Pope Francis' statement on climate change. In other words, the Pope should stick to religion and not meddle in...

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5 Reasons Why We Need More Guns on Campus

(8) Comments | Posted June 5, 2015 | 6:21 PM

The Texas legislature has passed Senate Bill 11, which allows college students to carry a concealed, holstered gun into college campus buildings. Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign the bill into law.

I'm a professor. I've taught at Ohio Northern University, Duke University, Seattle Pacific University, and now...

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The Perfect Salad and the Imperfect Church: Scot McKnight's A Fellowship of Differents

(0) Comments | Posted May 11, 2015 | 2:46 PM

What happens when you cross a first-rate New Testament scholar, a genuinely funny guy, and a former fundamentalist?

You get Scot McKnight, who can imagine for us the world of the New Testament (that's the scholar part), who can happily compare the church to a salad (that's the funny...

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Race and the Fabric of Faith: A Timely Letter From Universities and Seminaries

(3) Comments | Posted March 31, 2015 | 3:30 PM

We've seen the images from Sanford, Florida; from Ferguson, Missouri; from Staten Island, New York. Many of us are horrified, most of us mystified, nearly all of us paralyzed. What to do? Last week, the Presidents and Deans of America's 13 United Methodist Seminaries -- representing over 5,000 seminarians, including...

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Life After a Shooting: The Metamorphosis of a College Campus

(2) Comments | Posted January 9, 2015 | 7:47 PM

It is June 5th, 2014, a Thursday night, 7 PM. My daughter and I walk onto campus. We are numb. The auditorium is packed, so we walk along the side row to the front stage, where we sit, facing out, peering over an altar of candles, at a sea of...

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Saint Francis: The Musical!

(0) Comments | Posted October 23, 2014 | 7:06 PM

While visiting Assisi, Italy, last week, I was enjoying Jon Sweeney's When Saint Francis Saved the Church. The book jacket claims that another of Sweeney's books, The Pope Who Quit, was optioned by HBO. 2014-10-23-Aladdin.pngThat got...

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Mark Driscoll Needs a Prophet of His Own

(3) Comments | Posted August 14, 2014 | 3:39 PM

For 13 years I've worked at a college that lies a stone's throw from Mars Hill Church, where Mark Driscoll holds court. Now that court is crumbling amidst charges of financial dishonesty and abuse of power.

Driscoll has said he's changing. No more social media. No...

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After the Shooting at SPU: A Letter From the Student Who Subdued the Shooter

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2014 | 9:36 AM

By now, you'll have heard about Jon Meis, the Seattle Pacific University student who subdued the shooter mid-afternoon on Thursday. I didn't know him. His friends have told me he is lanky and quiet, unobtrusive -- and that they teased him about carrying pepper spray around. The Huffington...

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After the Shooting At SPU: Desolation, Consolation... Hope

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2014 | 1:15 PM

I expected the shock of an earthquake--not a shooting. In fact, they're retrofitting our oldest building, Alexander Hall, to prevent earthquake damage. How do we retrofit Otto Miller Hall lobby, where yesterday's shooting took place? Erase the memories? Sure, we can remove the blood-stained carpet, paint the blood-splattered walls, clean...

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Strutting With the Spirit: A Proposal for Pentecost

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2014 | 10:29 AM

I was broke. For our first Easter together, in 1981, Priscilla left a basket at my door with a $10 gift certificate for a haircut. That same spring, I ticketed parked cars. My mainstay meal was boiled carrots in a white flour sauce. I was a graduate student, after all....

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A Speck of Light and the Capacity to Remember the Holocaust

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 9:45 PM

My son Jeremy is reading Diane Ackerman's The Zookeeper's Wife during his senior year of high school. I am reading the book alongside him, giving him a crash course in how to take good notes.2014-04-25-zookeeperswife.png (You guessed it:...

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Asses to Ashes -- How to Rescue the Rest of Lent

(3) Comments | Posted March 28, 2014 | 12:38 PM

We're more than halfway through Lent. It began on Ash Wednesday, March 5th. It ends on Thursday, April 17th. And how's that self-denial going? Have you kept up your Lenten pledge?

You know what I mean. Giving up chocolate was the choice for Lent among the Holy Family Catholic school...

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Bill Nye, My Dad's Tie, and the Creation-Evolution Debate

(16) Comments | Posted February 3, 2014 | 10:05 PM

My wardrobe is, well, outdated, so I took the plunge and went to Nordstrom, where a guy named Nick helped me figure out what to do. I brought old slacks, old shirts, and about a dozen old ties. Natty Nick went nuts. He loved the old ties -- silk ones...

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Jesus at the Food Bank

(3) Comments | Posted December 20, 2013 | 10:08 AM

Even for people who aren't religious, now is the season of Altruism. We toss extra coins and bills in bright red Salvation Army pots. We respond to one or two extra appeals from the Union Gospel Mission or World Vision or Doctors Without Borders. We realize how fortunate we are...

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Fate, Faith and Fortune: A Book for Hanukkah and Christmas

(0) Comments | Posted November 26, 2013 | 11:45 AM

Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving next week, and have I got a book for you: David Laskin's The Family.2013-11-21-MaidenformWantedad.jpg Reviews in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal will tell you what I know: David Laskin's

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Does the Holy Spirit Inspire Violence? Obama, Syria and the Days Ahead

(86) Comments | Posted September 3, 2013 | 12:14 PM

As Barack Obama, advisers and members of Congress consider how to confront the spiral of violence in Syria, Christians should ask themselves, "Does the Holy Spirit ever inspire violence?"

This is a dangerous question, and I am prone to answer it with a loud and clear, "No!" The Spirit...

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