How others see me
Dr. Mark S. Ziese is Professor of Old Testament at the Cincinnati Christian University and an adjunct instructor with the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies. Along with courses in Old Testament exegesis, he teaches Hebrew grammar, ancient history, and archaeology. He holds degrees from Ozark Christian College, Cincinnati Christian University, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and Andrews University. He has participated in archaeological fieldwork in the Middle East since 1984 and is a familiar face within the academic communities of Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. He has been a Fellow at the Albright Institute of Archaeology in Jerusalem.
Recent publications include The College Press NIV Commentary: Joshua (2008), The College Press NIV Commentary: Ruth (2008) and My Father’s World: Celebrating the Life of Reuben G. Bullard (2011). He has also written numerous dictionary articles and contributing chapters in works such as Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible (2000), A Humble Defense (2004), and The Eerdman’s Companion to the Bible (2011).
Mark and his wife, Vicki, make their home in Petersburg, Kentucky. There, on the banks of the Ohio River, they enjoy reading, tending a garden, and picking string tunes. They have two grown children, Tanner and Moriah.
How I see myself
In the mirror. And some days it ain’t pretty.
Why I do what I do
I teach because teaching allows me to fulfill the fundamental responsibility of ministry: making and maturing disciples. This responsibility is discharged through the balance of faith and action, through reading, reflecting on, and appropriating the experiences of others, through the development of healthy relationships, and the choice to be an agent of positive change, regardless of situation or position. I want to radiate these priorities.
I travel, on the other hand, for more selfish reasons. Traveling strips off the insulation that accumulates around me. Possessions, comforts, food, habits, and a hundred other things dull my senses. Travel has an astringent quality. It scrapes off the barnacles and opens me up to new ideas, greater self-awareness, the fragility of the environment, and a fresh compassion for those around me. I am never more acutely alive than when I move lightly across foreign ground.
I organize trips to combine these loves. Group travel, of course, is not the same as solo travel. Both have advantages and disadvantages. I enjoy the challenge of experiential education with groups in cross-cultural situations. This requires the clear communication of priorities, the careful management of itinerary (hands-off is as important as hands-on; knowing the difference is the trick!), instruction in low-impact strategies of engagement, voiced awareness of human rights issues and democratic initiatives, and the redirection of traveler spending to smaller markets that support the local economy.