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John Ahn Profile

John Ahn

Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible

  • Biblical Studies, Divinity
  • School of Divinity


Dr. Ahn is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at HUSD. He is trained in ancient Near Eastern and Religious Studies. He holds the PhD in Religious Studies (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament), Yale University; STM, Yale Divinity School (Class Marshal); MDiv, Princeton Theological Seminary (Seminary Fellow); and BA, in Linguistics (highest GPA citation) and Religious Studies (with honors) from New York University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa). He specializes in the historical and social reconstructions of the sixth and fifth centuries BCE with interests to the first century CE. Dr. Ahn is classically trained in ANE languages and history, text criticism, literature, and paleoclimatology. He also employs social scientific theories, including cultural memory, trauma, generational consciousness, and forced and return migration studies to better understand the text's original and layered historical, social, literary (re-writing), and religious-cultural traditions of ancient Judah/Israel for ancient and contemporary actualizations (with canonical consciousness) fostering new knowledge. 

Dr. Ahn was president of the Mid-Atlantic Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) (2021-2022). He also served as the section review leader for Daniel and the Book of the Twelve (Minor Prophets)—NRSV-Updated Edition. 

Dr. Ahn is a highly regarded and recognized scholar in the study of the forced and return migrations periods, more commonly known as the exile and return. Trained under world leading scholars, Dr. Ahn continues to demonstrate leadership in (various) academic guilds: founder/chair of the "Return Migrations in Biblical Literature" (SBL International, 2019-present), the founder/chair of the "Exile-Forced Migrations Group" (SBL Annual, 2008-2012), International Meeting (2010-2012), Program Chair of the Hebrew Bible, Southwest SBL (2011-2013), president of the Korean Biblical Colloquium (KBC) (2017-2021), and Writings Section Chair, Mid-Atlantic SBL (2018-2022).

Dr. Ahn's monographs (authored and edited) include, Exile as Forced Migrations (de Gruyter, 2010), The Prophets Speak on Forced Migration (SBL Press, 2015), By the Irrigation Canals of Babylon (Bloomsbury, 2012), Thus Says the LORD: Essays in Honor of Robert R. Wilson (T & T Clark, 2009), and Landscapes of Korean and Korean American Biblical Interpretation (SBL Press, 2019). Currently, he is working on several projects of which two are: the Wilderness Wandering Tradition and an edited volume on The Last of the Kings on Forced and Return Migrations: 2 Kings 24-25. 

Before his appointment at HUSD, Dr. Ahn held faculty appointments in Texas (2006-14) and Connecticut (2002-06).

Dr. Ahn has led NGO projects to Africa, India, Ukraine, Siberia (Russia) and spent time in Israel as an archeologist. He has also worked in leadership development at a Global 500 (Austin, TX). Since 1994, he has served congregations in New York, Texas, and Maryland. Dr. Ahn is ordained in the Korean Presbyterian Church in America (Abroad), New York Presbytery. He served as the Senior Pastor of the Northwest Baptist Church in Austin, TX (2011-2015).

He is married with three children. He is a former NCAA athlete (Men's Volleyball). 


Select Publications:

2023 " Forced and Urban Centers of Diaspora Politics: Babylon (Ezekiel) and Egypt (Jeremiah)” in Political Theology, ed. Mark Brett and Rachelle Gilmour (Leiden: Brill, 2023). 

2022 "Joseph’s Hyper-Assimilation: A Fourth Generation’s Hidden Memory of Collapse,” JBRT 1.1 (2022).

2021 "Pervasiveness of Wisdom in (Con)Texts," in The Oxford Handbook of Wisdom and the Bible, ed. Will Kynes (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021).

2020 "Forced and Return Migrations as the Mitte of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament," in Christian Theology in the Age of Migration, ed. Peter C. Phan (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2020). 

2019 "Murder, Adultery, and Theft," in Landscapes of Korean and Korean American Biblical Interpretation, ed. John Ahn (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2019).

2018 "Amos"

2016 "Made in Babylon: Daniel 1," in The T & T Clark Handbook on Asian American Hermeneutics, ed. Uriah Kim and Seung Ai Yang (New York: T & T Clark, 2019).

2015 "Story and Memory" in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Theology, ed. Samuel Balentine (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).

2014 "Social Context of Ancient Israel," with Corrine L. Carvalho, in The Anselm Companion to the Old Testament, ed. Corrine Carvalho (Winona, MN: Anselm Academic, 2014).

2013 "Diaspora," in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation, ed. Steve McKenzie (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).

2012 "Exile," in The Dictionary of the Old Testament: Prophets, ed. Gordon McConville and Mark J. Boda (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Press, 2012).

2011 "Coastlands," in Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, ed. Hans-Josef Klauck, et al. (Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, 2011).

2010 "Awakening Biblical Theology," Religious Studies Review 36.3 (2010): 183-92.

2009 "Introduction to the Book of Zephaniah," The Peoples' Bible (Fortress, 2009).

2008 "Psalm 137: Complex Communal Laments," JBL 127 (2008): 267-289.

2007 "Sharon," The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, ed. Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, et al.; Abingdon, 2007).