After six years of research and writing, Dan Epp-Tiessen has finally completed his book for the Believers Church Bible Commentary series which focuses on the aftermath of destruction.
Emeritus Associate Professor of Bible at Canadian Mennonite University, Dan Epp-Tiessen was asked by the editorial council of the Believers Church Bible Commentary series to contribute to the series by writing on the book of Micah. However, due to the writer chosen for the books of Joel and Obadiah, Tiessen took on those books as well.
"It would have been longer had I not been semi-retired," says Tiessen. "because when you're teaching full time at CMU, for eight and a half to nine months of the year you're just preoccupied with day-to-day survival and getting ready for the next day. Then in summer, you want to take a month off and rest and so there just isn't a whole lot of time to do research and writing."
If he was not asked to, Tiessen admits that he wouldn't have chosen those three biblical books to write about. The editorial council chose Tiessen because he specializes in and teaches from the Old Testament.
By being tasked with writing about Joel, Obadiah and Micah, Tiessen had to find some way to segway from one book to the next.
"In some ways, content-wise, the three books aren't really that connected except they're all what one might call survival literature. These books all came into being after the Babylonians destroyed Judah and that was hugely traumatic because lots of the people are killed, their food supplies are all stolen, every town was levelled, and the leaders are dragged into exile. There's hunger and starvation, epidemics, etc, the community was deeply traumatized and so these books come out of that context and they're designed to help the community survive spiritually, psychologically, and even physically help them survive that disaster. So, that's what kind of ties them together."
The launch of the book was last Wednesday, October 26 at CommonWord on the CMU campus. Tiessen says that there were more people there than he expected and is grateful for all his friends that showed up to cheer him on and purchase his new book. Overall he says that he was nervous but was a memorable moment where his hard work was affirmed.
Tiessen looks to Micah 6:8, "When we think of the Bible, some of the guidelines for faithful living get to be really long and complex and then every once in a while, the Bible gives us these summaries as a way to, 'here folks, this is what's priority, this is what you need to focus on,' and so it was just really inspiring to come to work with that passage."
After this year of teaching at CMU, Tiessen plans to fully retire to open the way for new people to step in. He does anticipate to continue speaking upon request at various lectures, sermons, etc, and hopes to continue with various writing projects as well.
"Throughout human history, people haven't retired, they slow down."