JENNA (FURLONG ’09) PANNKUK
Justin Pannkuk is Northwestern’s second Fulbright Scholar in two years. Psychology professor Dr. Jennifer Feenstra was awarded a Fulbright for research in Romania during 2011–12.
Gabrielle Giffords was one. And author Joseph Heller. So were 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, 43 Nobel Prize winners and 78 Pulitzer Prize honorees.
Justin Pannkuk ’09 recently joined this impressive list of Fulbright Scholars and is spending the 2012–13 academic year at the University of Göttingen in Germany conducting research on the Dead Sea Scrolls.
In addition to biblical texts, the Dead Sea Scrolls also contain extra-biblical documents written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Pannkuk, who reads those languages as well as Syriac and classical Ethiopic, hopes his study of texts not canonized in the Hebrew Bible will lead to new insights about early Judaism and the development of Christianity.
“I’m struck by the diversity and complexity of early Jewish literature and history,” he says. “The texts I’m studying present differing perspectives on important issues—such as the problem and origins of evil, sources of religious and theological authority, and beliefs about the Messiah and resurrection from the dead.”
A May graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, Pannkuk credits religion professor Dr. James Mead, his undergraduate adviser and the 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.”
By Tamara Fynaardt