The first time I came across the name C. L. Seow was during my M.Div. days in India when I did preliminary and exegetical courses in Hebrew. I remember being fascinated by his “inductive” approach to learning the language. When I found myself at Princeton Seminary a few years later, it was inspiring to see him in person and get to know him. His students have the highest regard for his scholarship and pedagogy. I recall having conversations with some of my Ph.D. colleagues about how much they use their German and French, and they said, “Well, if you are in Dr. Seow’s classes, you’ll be using a lot of it,” pointing to his academic rigor and expectation. While I knew of his great teaching presence, I more recently also discovered his amazing preaching presence when I heard him at Miller Chapel during the 2014-2015 Opening Convocation. PTS will miss him terribly. It’s great to have celebrated his legacy.
Ph.D. Candidate in Religion & Society, PTS
As an advisor, Leong Seow encourages his students to be confident in themselves, while conducting thorough research. He makes them see themselves as colleagues who are joining the community of scholars. The day I met him, I began thinking of my work as a part of a career, rather than studies for a degree. He encouraged me to find my own voice and be unafraid to stand up to any scholar, including himself. While he is known for being a careful and responsible scholar, he pushes me to pursue scholarship in a way that is bold and creative. He is the first to warn that bold claims can only be made by careful scholarship. This blend of bold and responsible scholarship sets him apart as a scholar, and it is what I have learned most from him as a teacher.
3rd year PhD student, PTS
The course on “Job, Literature and Modernity” that I co-taught with Prof. Leong Seow was among the highlights of my teaching career. Erudite beyond measure, literate and eloquent, Leong is also a master teacher, inspiring the students by challenging them to ask hard questions, and delve deep in their responses. His is truly a collaborative classroom, with students presenting, debating, and daring to take the initiative in probing the most baffling and challenging of texts. It was a privilege to learn from him and teach with him, and I know he will go on to flourish in the next phase of his illustrious career. We will miss him.
Dept. of English
The 1990s found Americans and American churches hotly engaged in “culture wars,” especially over the issue of Christian teaching regarding homosexuality. At that time, Princeton Seminary was deeply divided, with declarations and counter declarations being drafted by the faculty. Into this setting, Professor Choon-Leong Seow proposed a better way: “Let’s involve faculty colleagues in an academic dialogue on this subject and publish it so as to raise the level of the debate and to assist the church in coming to a common mind.” The result was his edited volume Homosexuality and Christian Community (WJKP, 1996), in which 13 PTS faculty, with a wide range of views, produced thoughtful essays from the standpoint of their disciplines. So successful was this faculty volume that two more followed in quick succession: Women, Gender, and Christian Community (WJKP, 1997), edited by Jane Dempsey Douglas and myself, and involving another 13 faculty colleagues; and Making Room at the Table: An Invitation to Multicultural Worship (WJKP, 2001), edited by Brian Blount and Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, to which another dozen faculty contributed. Significantly, Professor Seow was the only member of the faculty to contribute essays to all three volumes. Prompted by Leong’s leadership, these three volumes anticipated the vision of President Craig Barnes that Princeton Seminary and its faculty are at their best whenever they lead the church in reflection and discussion on difficult public issues. For this legacy, now woven into the Seminary’s self-understanding, we will continue to remain in Leong’s debt.
James F. Kay
Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs, PTS
Joe R. Engle Professor of Homiletics and Liturgics
Director, Joe R. Engle Institute of Preaching
I am grateful to you, Leong, for so many things–your passionate teaching and inspirational scholarship, your mentoring and wisdom, your warm collegiality, and your considerable generosity. I celebrate and give thanks for your years at Princeton Theological Seminary, and I wish you joy and much success at Vanderbilt. Here’s to you, and welcome to the Bible Belt!
Christine Roy Yoder
Professor of Old Testament
Columbia Theological Seminary
The acumen of Professor Seow’s academic work testifies to his preeminent place within the disciple of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. But, even outside of Seow’s brilliant scholarship, the main trait of his personality that confronts anyone who has the pleasure of encountering him in person is his passion. Seow has a love for the things that he studies and teaches more than almost anyone you will ever meet. More importantly, that passion that he brings to his academic study of the Bible spills over into the way that he lives his life–compassionately immersed in a concern for the students here at PTS and deeply motivated by a yearning for peace and justice in the world at large.
2nd year PhD Student, PTS
You have been a wonderful colleague and friend over my 28 years of teaching Old Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary. I am thankful to God for all the many, many ways in which you have contributed to educating and inspiring Masters and PhD students to love the Old Testament in all its richness and diversity. I wish you the very best as you move and share your gifts of teaching and scholarship with a new community in Nashville.
Charles T. Haley Professor of Old Testament Theology, PTS
I had the joy of having Dr. Seow as an Mdiv student, years before he became a treasured colleague. How rare it is to have a student (think Dr. Seow) who teaches the teacher every time the student contributes a comment or a paper! And how rare it is that a student (think Dr. Seow) deliberately chooses the most difficult assignment options! How rare it is that a student (think Dr. Seow) is able to teach classmates without intimidating or boring them! Classes in which Dr. Seow was a student remain among the most memorable of my long teaching career.
Katharine Doob Sakenfeld
William Albright Eisenberger Professor of Old Testament Emerita, PTS