Professor's Lecture Draws From His Childhood Experiences

Any student who has taken a class from Bruce Johanson can tell you where the professor of biblical studies was born and raised: India! His experiences in India often play a major role in his classroom lectures and lessons.

s a child growing up in a missionary family in a foreign country, Johanson had a rare opportunity to learn about a different country with different people, cultures and religions. This sparked the passion he still has for culture and religion, and it shows in every class he teaches.
It was no different when Johanson was selected as the 2007 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer.  His campus lecture, given in November, also demonstrated his experiences abroad.

Every year the faculty select a colleague to be Distinguished Faculty Lecturer.  This honor is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated excellence in teaching and scholarship, and involvement in governance, church, and community service.  The chosen faculty member gives a presentation in November, and is given a $2,000 honorarium.

Johanson, a professor of biblical studies, presented the lecture entitled, “Integrity, Faith, and Shifting Horizons.” Drawing from his vast experience in cultures of various kinds, especially from his time as a child in India, Johanson shared his insights on religion today.

“The lecture was a distillation of my journey of faith in relation to scripture, church history and world religions,” Johanson says. Defining integrity as the alignment or the coherence of a person’s thoughts, words, and actions, Johanson described how the human condition—in spite of our cultural environment—has a longing for integrity, for a coherence which gives life its fullest meaning.

Johanson has always had a passion for religion and culture.  The third of three children born to missionaries Johannes and Ida Johanson, Bruce Carl Johanson was born in 1943, and at the age of 11 moved to the U.S.  Five years later, his roots called him home, and he returned to India to finish high school in the Himalayas in 1962.  After a year in France, Johanson graduated from Andrews University with a major in French and minors in Greek and religion.

After his marriage to Anne Christoffersen, the Johansons lived in Denmark, India, Sweden, and finally, College Place. As a result of his extensive travel, the professor can converse not only in English, but also in Swedish, Danish, French, and German.  In addition, he is relearning the Hindi he heard so often as a child in India.

Currently, Johanson teaches religion and Greek classes for the School of Theology. With such a strong cultural background, Johanson is the perfect choice for teaching one of the department’s most popular classes: World Religions.

Page maintained by Kim Strobel
Last update on November 26, 2008