Dr. Barry Bandstra

Retired Faculty
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Barry Bandstra’s teaching centers on the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and the biblical Hebrew language. He also regularly teaches a section of First Year Seminar and a capstone Senior Seminar within the college's interdisciplinary studies program. He is a past chair of the Department of Religion.

His professional interests include the application of computing technology to teaching and learning. He regularly teaches an interdisciplinary computer science and biblical studies course that applies the Python coding language to text analysis. As the director of academic computing, he is involved in giving direction to the college's course management system (currently Moodle), faculty training in technology, nurturing innovation in pedagogy and in developing the college's program of summer online courses.

He is an active member of the Society of Biblical Literature and is currently on the steering committee of the Global Education and Research Technology section. He was past program chair of the Linguistics and Biblical Hebrew section, and before that he chaired the Ugaritic and Northwest Semitics section. His research interest is the application of Hallidayan systemic functional grammar to the linguistic description of the biblical text.

Dr. Bandstra joined the Hope College faculty in 1983. 

Areas of expertise

  • Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
  • Biblical Hebrew language
  • Systemic functional linguistics


  • Ph.D., Near Eastern languages and civilizations, Yale University, 1982
  • M.A., M.Phil., Near Eastern languages and civilizations, Yale University, 1978
  • B.Div., Calvin Theological Seminary, 1975
  • B.A., philosophy, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 1972

Grants, honors and awards 

  • Hybrid Learning and the Residential Liberal Arts Experience, Teagle Foundation grant ($335,000), 2015
  • Academic Computing Advisory Team Innovation Award, Hope College, 2011
  • Provost's Award for Service to the Academic Program, Hope College, 2005
  • Appointed to endowed chair as The Evert J. and Hattie E. Blekkink Professor of Religion, Hope College, 2004–2014
  • Janet L. Andersen Award for Excellence in Teaching, Hope College, 2002

Selected publications

  • Genesis 1–11: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text, Baylor University Press, 2008
  • Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (4th edition), Cengage, 2009
  • Forty articles in The Harper-Collins Dictionary of the Bible (New Revised Edition, edited by Mark Allen Powell; Dr. Bandstra is associate editor), HarperCollins, 2011

outside the college 

Dr. Bandstra is an active member of the 14th Street Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan, where he has served terms as elder. His hobby is long-distance motorcycling; he has ridden his Honda twice to Alaska and once to Newfoundland, and has twice survived off-roading the Great Divide from Canada to Mexico on his KLR650.

Profile photo of Dr. Barry Bandstra
Dr. Barry Bandstra
Retired Faculty
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