Faculty Member Publishes Book

Biblical studies professor announces upcoming book release

By: Becky Beddoe

Zdravko Stefanovic, professor of biblical studies at Walla Walla College, will soon experience the thrill of seeing a newly published book sitting on bookstore shelves with his name on its cover.  

"Daniel: Wisdom for the Wise" took approximately five years to finish and came along with full-time teaching and volunteering at a local non-profit organization, which involves quite a bit of travel.  Stefanovic reserved Friday mornings to write and do research spending between 3 and 4 hours working on his book each week.

Stefanovic’s new book is a chapter by chapter text-based commentary.  “We [as humans] are so prompt to read our own ideas into the text and let the Bible say those ideas back to us,” says Stefanovic.  In his text-based study, Stefanovic tried to refrain from letting his own ideas influence how he read the text, allowing it to speak clearly to him.

“You have to be, in some ways, like an artist,” Stefanovic observes.  “You must pay attention to the details, but keep in mind they are part of the overall picture as well.”

There were several reasons Stefanovic chose to study the book of Daniel so specifically.  “Daniel is an important book in the context of Seventh-day Adventism,” he says.  No other denomination has printed as much literature about Daniel as the Seventh-day Adventists have.  

Stefanovic studied Aramaic in graduate school.  Daniel is one of few bilingual books of the Bible; it was originally written in both Hebrew and Aramaic.  The combination of such a fascinating book and a personal interest in the ancient language of Aramaic inspired Stefanovic.

Another reason he chose Daniel was a request from his brother, Ranko Stefanovic, chair of the Department of Religion at Andrews University.  In 2002, Ranko published through Andrews University Press a chapter by chapter text-based commentary on the book of Revelation.  Knowing of his brother’s interest in Daniel, Ranko asked Stefanovic to compose a similarly styled commentary to be packaged as a set with his own book, Revelations of Jesus Christ.  Stefanovic agreed, however hesitantly.

“I started the whole project on my knees,” Stefanovic says.  He was sure he would face unhappy readers if he introduced anything new.  “I asked for God’s guidance as I began, and of course throughout the entire project.”

Multiple cross-cultural experiences have given Stefanovic unique skills and have enabled him to better understand the cultural aspects of the book of Daniel.  Stefanovic has lived in Bosnia and Croatia (former republics of Yugoslavia), France, Switzerland, Michigan, the Philippines, and mainland Asia.  Finally he settled at “the best place in the world,” Walla Walla College.

Stefanovic has written several books, including "The Aramaic of Daniel in the Light of Old Aramaic," a linguistic study of the book of Daniel, and "Bridging East and West: Joseph Wolff’s Vision of Global Advent Mission," a life study of Joseph Wolff.  "Daniel: Wisdom for the Wise" is scheduled to be released in May 2007 from Pacific Press Publishing Association.

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