Jonathan Watt View All Faculty
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Degrees Received

  • Ph.D. Linguistics, 1995, University of Pittsburgh
  • M.A., Linguistics, 1987, University of Pittsburgh
  • M.Div., 1982, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary
  • B.S. Magazine Journalism (minor: German), 1978, Syracuse University

Courses Taught

  • Anthropology / Sociology & Adult Education
    • ANT 201 - Cultural Anthropology
    • MIN 224 - Multiculturalism & Globalism
    • MIN 491 - Cross-Cultural Conflict
    • CMN 401 - Dynamics of Groups
    • CMN 430, 432, 434, 438 - Research Methods
    • CMN 445 - Theory and Practice of Adult Learning
    • HMT 411 - Humanities (Intro)
    • BBL 408 - Foundations of Christian Thought
    • CMN 470 - Senior Seminar
    • CMN 403 - Personal Leadership and Development
    • CMN 406 - Church in Community
    • CMN 404 - Old Testament Principles of Ministry
    • CMN 407 - New Testament Principles of Ministry
    • BBL 409 - Christianity in Dialogue (Apologetics)
    • CMN 409 - Principles of Family Ministry
    • CMN 410 - Leadership for Mission and Ministry

  • Biblical Studies
    • BIB 112 - Old Testament Introduction
    • BIB 113 - New Testament Introduction
    • BIB 301 - OT Prophets: Daniel
    • BIB 303 - OT Poetry: Psalms
    • BIB 303 - OT: Pentateuch
    • BIB 308 - OT Wisdom Literature
    • BIB 312 - NT: Pauline Epistles
    • BIB 318 - NT: Book of Hebrews
    • BIB 312 - NT: Gospel of Matthew
    • BIB 314 - NT: Book of Romans
    • BIB 311 - NT: First Corinthians
    • BIB 314 - NT: Catholic Epistles
    • BIB 340 - Inter-Testamentary Period
    • BIB 341 - Biblical Archaeology

  • English
    • ESL 430 - Advanced ESL Reading
    • ENG 101 - English Composition
    • ENG 113 - Research Writing
    • ENG 328 - English Grammars/Ling.
    • ENG 382 - History of English Language
    • ENG 491 - English Dialects
    • COM 101 - Principles of Communication
  • History
    • BIB 491 - Early Church Experience
    • BIB 491 - Pat. & Med. Church History
    • BIB 491 - Reformed Presbyterian History
    • HUM 118, 119 - Humanities I & II

  • Languages
    • GRK 101, 102 - Hellenistic Greek Grammar I and II
    • GRK 201 - Intermediate Greek Reading
    • GRK 202 - Greek Exegesis
    • GRK 491 - Septuagint Greek Reading
    • GRK 493 - Adv. Greek Reading
    • GRK 491 - Directed Readings in Patristic Church Greek

  • Linguistics
    • LIN 219 - Linguistics
    • LIN 220 - Applied Linguistics
    • LIN 491 - Sociolinguistics
    • LIN 491 - Historical Linguistics
    • LIN 491 - Language and Religion
    • LIN 491 - Languages of the World
  • Religious Ministry Studies
    • MIN 491 - World of Islam
    • MIN 491 - Jihad vs. McWorld
    • MIN 491 - 20th Century Jewish Experience / Judaeo-Christian Heritage
    • MIN 225 - Missions and Culture
    • HUM 304 - Judaism & Islam in the Modern Middle East
  • Theology & Ministry
    • MIN 219 - World Christian Movement
    • BIB491 - Cultures of Biblical Times
    • MIN 491 - Liberation Theology
    • CMN 408 - Church and Mission
    • MIN 491 - Spiritual Formation
    • BBL 491 - Grief & Crisis Ministry
    • BBL 408 - Perspectives on Faith
  • Research Writing
    • MIN 491 - Research in Missions & Culture
    • Directed Undergraduate - Level Applied Research Project
    • IDM 491 - Undergraduate Honors Projects - Various Topics


Selected Presentations/Publications

  • 2024Hosted and presented the Orality and Literacy Conference at Geneva College. This conference welcomed academics from a range of institutions, including to two plenary speakers, 32 paper presentations. April 2024.Colossians, Philemon, in Brill Exegetical Commentary Series, Vol. 2, April 2024. Watt is co-editor and contributor to the Baker Encyclopedia of Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics, slated for publication this fall.
  • 2021

    "Familiar Story in Unfamiliar Words: William Dean's Chinese Study Bible and Five Generations of Chinese Australian Immigrants." Paper co-authored with Francis G.H. Pang, for presentation to the Conference on Translation, literature and Publishing in Chinese Christianities at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK) - June 19-20, 2020 (postponed to 2021).

    "The Role of Linguistics in Teaching Biblical Languages." Invited paper for presentation to the Bingham Colloquim, McMaster Divinity College (Hamilton, ON), June 4-5, 2020 postponed to 2021.

    Co-editor and contributor for Advancing the Vision:Essays in Honor of John H. "Jack" White Festschrift co-edited by J. M. Watt & Bruce R. Backensto (Fall City Press, 2019) Author of Chapter 15 - "The rise of Artisan English" (pp. 287-314).

    Chapter revision of "Religious and Sacred Literacies." Chapter 25 inThe Handbook of Educational Linguistics (Blackwell, 2007), co-authored with Sarah L. Fairfield Wilson. 2nd edition (2021).

    Co-editor of forthcomingBaker Encyclopedia of Biblical Greek and Linguistics,and the author of six entries: "Semantic Change," "Code-Switching," "Lexico-Grammatical Change," "Deixis," "Stephen H. Leinsohn," and "Ellipsis."

    "Thoughts of Paul: The Church and Ecclesiology." Chapter in forthcoming volume,The Pauline Mind. Stanley E. Porter and David I. Yoon, eds. New York: Routledge, 2021.

    "What Has Prague to Do with Hamilton?" Chapter in forthcoming volume, The Literary-Linguistic Analysis of the New Testament:The Enduring Legacy of Russion Formalism and the Prague Linguistic Circle. Stanley E. Porter, Zachary K. Dawson and Ryder A. Wishart, eds. In: Linguistic Biblical Studies (LBS) Series. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2021.

    "Greek Phonology and Morphology." Chapter in forthcomingCambridge Companion to the Bible and Linguistics.Cambridge University Press, 2022.


  • 2020

    "The Role of Linguistics in Teaching Biblical Languages." Invited paper for presentation to the Bingham Colloquim, McMaster Divinity College (Hamilton, ON), June 4-5, 2020 postponed to 2021.

    Co-editor & Contributor:Baker Encyclopedia of Biblical Greek and Linguistics(Baker Books, 2021).

    Persuasion in Philemon- Co-Written with James Dvorak (publisher TBD) 2020-21.

    Hebrews. In: New Testament Discourse Analysis Commentary (NTDAC Series; Wipf & Stock, 2024).


  • 2019

    "IAKWBOU Contra Mundum:Anti-Language and the Epistle of James." Chapter in: James Dvorak & Zachary K. Dawson (eds.). The Epistle of James: Linguistic Exegesis of an Early Christian Letter. Wipf and Stock, 2019.

    Co-editor (with Stanley E. Porter and Jesus Pelaez),Linguistic Biblical StudiesSeries (scholarly monograhphs and edited collections in Greek and Linguistics - E. J. Brill).

    Co-editor (with Stanley E. Porter, Christopher Land, Dana Harris),Baker Encylcopedia of Biblical Greek and Linguistics (publication expected 2021)

    Book project:Rhetorical Approaches to Philemon(with James Dvorak).

    Editorial Board:Biblical & Ancient Greek Linguistics(BAGL);Dialogismos; Didaktikos - journals.

    Seminar Speaker: Recurrent topics include "Islam: Then and Now," "Time Management," " Historical Linguistics/Diachronic Semantics," and other topics by request.


  • 2018
    "I, Pastor: Alert at the Crossroads."Didaktikos -November 2018 Issues, p. 6.

  • 2017

    “Jewish Classical Education and the American Home Schooling Movement.” 2017. Shanghai (Chinese language version)

    “Gregory of Nazianzus on Language.” In: Denecker, Tim, M. Lamberigts, G. Partoens, P. Swiggers, and T. Van Hal (eds.). 2017. Language and Culture in Early Christianity: A Companion. Leuven: Peeters.

    IAKWBOU Contra Mundum: Anti-Language and the Epistle of James.” Chapter in:James Dvorak (ed.). Gems from ‘Straw’: Linguistic Criticism and the Epistle of James. Wipf and Stock, 2017.

    “Getting Along: Politeness Theory and the Gospels.” In: Andrew Pitts and Craig Blomberg, (eds.). Festschrift for Stanley E. Porter. E.J. Brill, 2017.

    Exegetical/Critical Commentary on Colossians and Philemon. Brill Exegetical Commentary Series.Stanley E. Porter and Andrew W. Pitts (General Editors). Leiden: E.J. Brill. Forthcoming.

    “From Adams (1885) to Zimmermann (2009): In, With and Under the Substance of Prepositions” Biblical and Ancient Greek Linguistics – Vol. 7 (2017).

    "Cultural Identification and the Language of Religion." Paper for Presentation to Wolrd Education Day Conference - Dalian, China (Sept. 27-29, 2017).


  • 2016

    “Jewish Classical Education” and “The American Home Schooling Movement.” Papers presented at graduate seminars - Nanjing Normal University, China – March 28 & 29, 2016.

    “Deep vs. Surface Culture: Language Ideology in the Ancient Near East and Jewish Antiquity.” Paper presented at graduate seminar – Xiamen University, China – March 30, 2016.

    “Anthropological Models of Culture and Language.” Paper presented at graduate seminar of Foreign Language Institute, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, China – April 5, 2016.


  • 2015

    “From Adams (1885) to Zimmermann (2009): In, With and Under the Substance of Prepositions” Paper for presentation to the Biblical Greek and Linguistics Section of the Society ofBiblical Literature, Atlanta, GA – November.

    “The Living Language Environment of Acts 21:27-40.” Biblical and Ancient Greek Linguistics4(2015):30-48.

    “Patristic Conceptions of Language Universals.” Paper presented to the Perspectives on Language and Culture in Early Christianity. KU, Leuven, Belgium – Sept.10-12.


  • 2014

    “Idiolect, Candy Bars and ‘Artisan English′ Orthography.” Paper presented to the 14thInternational Conference on Diversity in Organizations, at Vienna, Austria, July 2014

    “The Living Language Environment of Acts 21:27-40.” Paper presented to the Greek Language and Exegesis Section of the Evangelical Theological Society, San Diego, CA,November 2014.

    “The Principle of Universality in Sociolinguistics With Implications for Acts 22:2.” Paperpresented to the Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics Section at the Annual Meetingof the Society of Biblical Literature, San Diego, CA, November 2014.

    “Anti-Language and the Epistle of James.” Chapter in edited book on the Greek text of the Epistle of James and Persuasion Theory. James Dvorak (Co-editor). Forthcoming.


  • 2013

    Review of Language and Religion: A Journey into the Human Mindby William Downes(Cambridge, 2011). In: Language and Society Vol.42(3): June 2013

    Exegetical/Critical Commentary on Colossians and Philemon. In the Brill ExegeticalCommentary Series. Stanley E. Porter and Andrew W. Pitts (General Editors).Leiden: E.J. Brill. Forthcoming.

    A Cross-Linguistic Study of Greek Diminutives – BAGL – Fall Issue


  • 2012

    “Missionaries and Language Maintenance and Language Shift: Language Policy, Social Forces or Historical Accident?” (with Christina B. Paulston) Paper for presentation to the 7th Annual Conference on Missionary Linguistics. Bremen, Germany, Feb.29-Mar.2.

    “Is There a Diminutive Proto-Type in the House? Paper for presentation to the Biblical GreekLanguage and Linguistics Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, Chicago, IL,Nov.17-20.

    Internal book and manuscript reviews for Oxford University Pressand Wadsworth Cengage Learning.


  • 2011

    The Leader′s Bible – New Testament. Editor/translator for Synoptic Gospels, Acts and I, II Thessalonians. 400th Anniversary Edition of KJV / MEV.

    “The Community Diminutive.” Paper for presentation to the Biblical Greek Languages andLinguistics Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, Annual Meeting,San Francisco, Nov.19.

    Critical review of Tope Omoniyi (ed.), The Sociology of Language and Religion. Palgrave/MacMillan, 2010. In: Language Policy, Vol.11, Issue 2 (2012):205-207.


  • 2010

    “Language Policy and Religion.” Ch.18 in Spolsky, Bernard (Ed.). Cambridge Handbook ofLanguage Policy. Cambridge University Press. (with Christina B. Paulston), 2012.

    “A History of Greek with Reference to the New Testament” and “Some Implications ofBilingualism for New Testament Exegesis.” Two chapters in: Stanley E. Porter &Andrew W. Pitts, Eds. Studies in the Language of the New Testament, Vol.1.Leiden: E.J. Brill. – Forthcoming

    “A Short Study of Greek Diminutives.” Paper presented to the Biblical Greek Language andLinguistics Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, Atlanta, Nov.20.


  • 2009

    “Hermeneutic Implications of Bilingualism with Reference to Matt.5:22.” Paper forpresentation to the Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics Section of the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Nov.21-24.

    “The Contribution of Bilingualism to an Understanding of the Nature of New Testament Greek with Implications for the Exegesis of Phil.2:6-11.” Paper for presentation to the New Testament and the Greek Language Section of the Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting, New Orleans, Nov.18-20.

    “Talking with the Dead: Linguistics and Pedagogy of Hellenistic Greek.” In: S.B. Porterand M.B. O′Donnell (Eds.). The Linguist as Pedagogue: Trends in the Teaching and Linguistics Analysis of the Greek New Testament. New Testament Monographs, 11. Sheffield Phoenix Press (2011).

    “Religion as a Domain of Intercultural Discourse.” Ch.23 in Kiesling, Scott, Elizabeth Rangel and Christina B. Paulston (Eds.). Blackwell Handbook of InterculturalDiscourse and Communication. Blackwell Publishing (2012).


Awards & Distinctions

  • Excellence in Scholarship Award, Geneva College, 2004-2005
  • Moderator of 174th Synod (2005) of Reformed Presbyterian Church

Affiliations, e.g., membership in professional organizations, etc.

  • Society of Biblical Literature
  • Evangelical Theological Society

Miscellaneous, e.g., hobbies, sports, personal info

  • Born in Sydney, Australia; raised in England, United States, Australia and Hong Kong before permanently immigrating to United States in 1967 (citizenship granted in 1975). Enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and camping; experienced in remodeling and refinishing furniture and refurbishing houses; like to spend time conversing with college students, including organizing and participating in variety of international travels.

Academic Distinctives

Dr. Jonathan Watt, Professor of Biblical Studies and Bible Department Chair, was recently appointed to serve as co-editor of the Baker Encyclopedia of Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics, which is slated for publication in 2024. 

Dr. Watt has taught Greek and Bible courses at Geneva College for over twenty years and is a widely respected scholar in the area of Greek linguistics.

Some of his most recent scholarly work includes “Thoughts of Paul: The Church and Ecclesiology” (a chapter in a book titled The Pauline Mind, edited by Stanley Porter and Zachary Dawson) and a scholarly paper co-presented in Canada with James Dvorak titled "When Clouds Rain Transcendence: Appraisal Theory and Hebrews 11.”