Dennis Sylva, Ph. D.

Dennis Sylva, Ph. D.

Affiliate Professor of New Testament 

PhD in Theology, Marquette University

BA in Religious Studies, Gonzaga University

Get to Know Dr. Sylva

Dr. Sylva teaches courses in the New Testament. His research interests include the Johannine literature, Luke-Acts, and the critical incorporation of New Testament perspectives into the contemporary life of the church. His approaches to the literature embrace a range of narrative, sociological and anthropological approaches rooted in dialogue with the ancient literary and demotic texts and archaeological remains. A related area of interest is the particular intertextual use of the Old Testament in the New Testament and the relation of various theological, ecclesial, moral, and eschatological perspectives in each testament. This is part of a larger concern to let various literary strata in the Bible be read in their own unique contexts before engaging in conversations between the viewpoints articulated in each of them.

As an adult minister at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, Sylva has had the opportunity both to share critical methods for the attempts to bridge the linguistic, social, chronological, and cultural gaps between the New Testament and the present and to discuss New Testament books with a focus on their role in the life of the church. Sylva is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and of the Rhetoric of Religious Antiquity group, for which he has been asked to compose the commentary on the Wisdom of Solomon.

Prior to teaching at Nashotah House, Sylva was Professor of Biblical Studies at St. Francis Seminary in St. Francis, Wisconsin. He also has been an adult minister at St. Jerome Parish in Oconomowoc, WI and at St. John Vianney Parish in Brookfield, WI. Hobbies include walking, hiking, reading novels, short stories, and the Bard, and engaging in collegial dialogues.

Dennis and Mary were married in 1976 and have a son (David Michael), daughter-in-law (Dio) and granddaughter (Camille).

Selected Publications

  • Books
    • Thomas—Love as Strong as Death: Faith and Commitment in the Fourth Gospel, Library of New Testament Studies; London: T & T Clark, 2013.

    • The Book of Wisdom. Rhetoric of Religious Antiquity Commentaries; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature Press; forthcoming.

    • Dennis Sylva and James A. Wallace, Living the Word: Scripture Reflections and Commentaries for Sundays and Holy Days (Year C), (Franklin Park, IL: World Library Publications, 2009).

    • Dennis Sylva and James A. Wallace, Living the Word: Scripture Reflections and Commentaries for Sundays and Holy Days (Year B), (Franklin Park, IL: World Library Publications, 2008).

    • Psalms and the Transformation of Stress: Poetic-Communal Interpretation and the Family. Louvain Theological and Pastoral Monographs, 16; Paris: Peeters, 1994.

    • Editor. Reimaging the Death of the Lukan Jesus. Bonner Biblische Beiträge, 73; Bonn: A. Hain, 1990.

  • Articles
    • “The Rising Neharoth of Psalm 93: Chaotic Order.” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 36 (2012), 471-82.

    • “Precreation Discourse in Psalms 74 and 77: Struggling with Chaoskämpfe,” Religion and Theology 18 (2011), 244-67.

    • “A Unified Field Picture of Second Peter 1.3-15: Making Rhetorical Sense Out of Individual Images.” In Reading 2 Peter with New Eyes: Methodological Reassessments of 2 Peter. Edited by Robert Webb. London: T & T Clark, 2010, 116-44.

    • “The Blessing of a Wounded Patriarch: Genesis 27.1-40.” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 32 (2008), 267-286.

    • Review of Jo-Ann Brant, Dialogue and Drama: Elements of Greek Tragedy in the Fourth Gospel. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2004. In Journal of Biblical Literature 125 (2006): 604-07.

    • “Instruction and Catharsis in the Isaian Oracles against the Nations.” Bible Today 44 (2006): 215-19. 

    • “The Bifocal Lenses of Amos 1-2.” In Itinere 8 (2006): 23-28.

    • “Death and Life at the Center of the World.” In Reimaging the Death of the Lukan Jesus. Edited by Dennis Sylva. Bonn: A. Hain, 1990: 153-169, 211-217.

    • “The Changing of Images in Psalm 23:5-6.” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 102 (1990): 111-116.

    • “Nicodemus and His Spices.” New Testament Studies 34 (1988): 148-151.

    •  “The Cryptic Clause en tois tou patros mou dei einai me in Luke 2:49b.” Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 78 (1987): 132-140.

    • “The Meaning and Function of Acts 7:46-50.” Journal of Biblical Literature 106 (1987): 261-275.

    • “The Temple Curtain and Jesus’ Death in the Gospel of Luke.” Journal of Biblical Literature 105 (1986): 239-250.

    • “The Critical Exploration of 1 Peter.” In Perspectives on First Peter. Edited by Charles Talbert. Macon: Mercer U., 1986: 17-36.

    • “Ierousalem and Hierosoluma in Luke-Acts.” Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 74 (1983): 207-221.

    • “Translating and Interpreting 1 Peter 3:2.” Technical Papers for the Bible Translator 34 (1983): 144-147.

    • “A 1 Peter Bibliography.” JETS 25 (1982): 75-89.

    • “1 Peter Studies: The State of the Discipline.” Biblical Theology Bulletin 10 (1980): 155-163.