Among the many students with whom we celebrated a successful dissertation defense this spring was our colleague and friend, Ben Ribbens. On May 3rd, Ben defended his dissertation, “Levitical Sacrifice and Heavenly Cult in Hebrews.” His work examines the Levitical sacrifices in the book of Hebrews and their relationship to Christ’s sacrifice. While most scholars argue that the book of Hebrews presents a view of the Levitical sacrifices in which they have little, if any, efficacy, Ben argues for a more positive depiction of these sacrifices. He views them as “sacramental, Christological types” which have efficacy by virtue of their connection to Christ’s own sacrifice. Ben was guided in his dissertation work by his mentor, Dr. Douglas Moo. His second reader was Dr. C. Hassell Bullock and his external reader was Dr. Eric. F. Mason.
Ben dedicated his dissertation to the most important person in his journey towards this achievement, his late wife Sarah, who died unexpectedly one year ago today due to complications from a miscarriage. Ben’s success in this endeavor is not only a tribute to Sarah but also a testimony to God’s ever-present grace in our lives. As Ben wrote in the acknowledgements of his dissertation, “I could not have lived as rich a life or achieved the completion of this project without her.” As Sarah was an inspiration to Ben, Ben’s own faithfulness to God and perseverance in his calling as he walked through that tragedy was an inspiration to all of us.
Ben has recently accepted a teaching position at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois, as Assistant Professor of Theology where he will begin teaching in the fall of this year. He will also soon be ordained as a minister in the Christian Reformed Church.
Congrats, Ben! It has been an honor and privilege to study alongside you here at Wheaton.