It’s probably safe to say that you have never met anyone like Dr. Ralph Hawkins before. Yes, he is a university professor, a scholar and an author (he has four books published already, with two more scheduled for release in 2013). But he’s more like Indiana Jones, without the whip.
Hawkins is, in fact, a Biblical archaeologist, and he has many trips, many digs, in Near Eastern locations — primarily Jordan and the highlands of Israel — under his belt already, with no end in sight.
Talk to him even briefly and you’ll see his deep love for the subject: “I eat, sleep and drink the Hebrew Bible and Near Eastern archaeology,” he says with a sparkle in his eye. As you talk more, you learn that about the only thing better, for him, than digging in the dirt in search of biblical artifacts is having students with him, digging the dig.
“That’s the wonderful thing about Averett,” he says, “is that it’s small enough that the students get to know the professors. So if you’re a student who wants to study a topic seriously, working closely with teacher-scholars who have the time to give you their attention, come here.”
He adds: “You won’t be stuck in classes with hundreds of other students. You can work one-on-one with professors. In Religion you can go on adventures to the Holy Land with the professors and, when you’re ready, we’ll definitely help you get into the right graduate program.”
Not all of his students will elect to spend free time on archaeology digs overseas, of course, but the option is there. “We have a very diverse group of students,” Hawkins says. “They’re studying theatre, art, history, etc. We have a lot of athletes too, and many Religion students are just looking for who they are and what they want to do in life.”
An extremely friendly and outgoing man, Hawkins is working with the university’s Christian student union (with 50-60 members currently) and with Danville’s pastors. He welcomes current pastors into classes as part of their professional growth, and he says high school students can use Religion at Averett as a pre-pastoral program, adding, “We want Religion majors to consider us, of course, but students here also can minor in Religion.”All of his students, of course, benefit from his abiding and contagious passion for unearthing revelatory pieces of history.
Doctor of Ministry, School of Theology, University of the South
Doctor of Philosophy, Old Testament and Near Eastern Archaeology, Andrews University
Master of Arts in Biblical Exegesis, Lipscomb University
Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Languages, Lipscomb UniversityBachelor of Fine Arts, Visual Arts, Lipscomb University