Laurel Koepf is Associate Professor of Old Testament. She teaches the first required course in Bible, “Biblical Studies I” as well as “Hebrew Grammar.” Dr. Koepf also teaches electives such as “Genders in the World of the Bible,” “Biblical Families,” and “Reading the Bible With Children and Youth.” In her teaching, she seeks to empower students to become confident and informed interpreters of scripture.
“The Bible comes from many perspectives and reflects theological diversity in the same way our congregations reflect theological diversity. It is only when we understand difference that we can understand what the Bible communicates and values.”
Dr. Koepf’s research focuses on children in the Bible and how people thought about children differently in the biblical world than we do in this country today. Her first publication, Give Me Children or I Shall Die: Children and Survival in Biblical Literature, based on her revised Ph.D. dissertation, was released in Fall 2013.
Dr. Koepf’s passion for multi-generational work informs not only her research but also her involvement both at Eden and in the community. She fervently believes that adults and children can experience worship and education together and that we can all learn from each other. It is her hope that embodying this philosophy will lead to congregational vitality where children will feel a part of the church as they grow. In the St. Louis community, Dr. Koepf teaches educational series on biblical families and thinking creatively about sexuality in the Bible for local congregations.
Dr. Koepf is the faculty advisor to the Eden student group, Common Ground, and serves as co-chair of the LGBTIA/Queer Hermeneutics section of the Society of Biblical Literature.
Growing up in the Cleveland, Ohio, area, Dr. Koepf began to assist with teaching Sunday School at the age of 10. At the age of 14 she had her own Sunday School class and began writing her own curriculum, which came naturally to her. Her first position after her undergraduate work was as Director of Children and Youth Ministries at Second Congregational Church in Greenwich, Connecticut, where she created both Sunday School and vacation bible school curricula. Having felt a call to become ordained led her to Union Theological Seminary in New York City. At Union, she initiated and taught a course on ways to fully integrate children into the life of congregations. While at Union, Dr. Koepf realized her call was to academic ministry. “Seminaries need people who are interested in and focused on children in order for the church to survive.”
Dr. Koepf is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She has two sons, Gordy and Kai.