Dr. Joan Campbell, CSM

Associate Professor of New Testament

Contact me

Areas of Expertise
  • Cultural world of the Bible
  • Biblical kinship issues
  • The Gospel of John
Curriculum Vitae

B.Sc. (Hons.) (University of Prince Edward Island)
B.Ed. (Hons.) (University of Prince Edward Island)
M.R.E. (University of Saint Michael's College)
M.A. in New Testament Studies (University of Saint Michael's College)
Ph.D. in New Testament (University of Saint Michael's College: Toronto School of Theology)

Personal statement

My name is Joan Campbell. I am from Charlottetown, the fifth of six children and a Sister of Saint Martha of Prince Edward Island. For the first fifteen years of my life as a Martha, I was frequently asked the same annoying question. “Are you happy?” It seemed that most people believed that misery went hand in hand with living as a vowed religious woman. The curious thing is that I usually felt that I was happier than the person asking me the question. So in case you are wondering: yes, I am happy. In fact, I am very happy to be a Martha teaching at an outstanding ecumenical theological school, the Atlantic School of Theology. There are so many exciting things going on here, activities such as ecumenical worship services, ecumenical dialogue in the classroom, learning lunches, graduate research presentations, public lectures of all kinds, dragon boating, the annual student-faculty boules match as well as our annual agape service. (We love to eat together). Come and see (John 1:39). It is well worth the trip to Halifax!

Teaching Philosophy

The Bible was always part of my life. From the time I was a child, I heard biblical texts proclaimed and preached. Much of my prayer life was based on the Bible. I prayed the Liturgy of the Hours and meditated daily on gospel passages. I felt at home when reading the Bible. However, when I commenced academic study of biblical texts, I soon realized that when I opened the Bible I was entering a new world. I was a foreigner in a foreign land. For one thing, I learned that biblical texts were written centuries ago in a cultural context vastly different from my own and in languages unfamiliar to me. I began to understand that familiar concepts such as “family” and “hospitality” did not mean the same to biblical persons as they mean to most 21st-century Canadians. As a result, I discovered that when it comes to the Bible our interpretation is often marked by ethnocentrism. Consequently, I believe that my work is twofold. First, it is to present that which seems familiar in such a way that it is unfamiliar. And second, my job is to make that which is foreign to my students more recognizable.

As I work with my students, I am more and more convinced that learning is only possible in a safe environment, one where students and teachers engage in respectful dialogue. In such a context, adult learners can enthusiastically investigate the subject at hand through the lens of their lived experience. They can become more effective teachers and preachers. For me, the ultimate goal is not just to master the curriculum; it is to become creative and critical thinkers, leaders who will partner with others of all religious persuasions in an effort to make the world a more hospitable place.

Research Interests

  • Biblical kinship issues
  • The cultural world of the Bible
  • Portraits of women in the Bible


  • Kinship Relations in the Gospel of John.  CBQ Monograph Series 42. Washington DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2007.
  • Phoebe: Patron and Emissary. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2009.
  • Exploring Biblical Kinship: Festschrift in Honor of John J. Pilch. Edited by Joan C. Campbell and Patrick J. Hartin. CBQ Monograph Series 55. Washington DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America. Forthcoming.