Spring 1997 · Vol. 26 No. 1 · pp. 104–12 

Current Research

Douglas B. Miller

Faculty Publications, 1995-96


Bystrom, Raymond. Supervised Ministry Experience: 1996-97 Handbook. 2d rev. ed. Fresno, CA: Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, 1996. [MBBS]

*Miller, Douglas B., and R. Mark Shipp. An Akkadian Handbook. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1996. [TC]

Toews, Paul. Mennonites in American Society, 1930-1970: Modernity and the Persistence of Religious Community. The Mennonite Experience in America vol. 4. Scottdale, PA: Herald, 1996. [FPU]

Chapters in Books

Friesen, Delores. “Baskets of Faith.” In All Are Witnesses: A Collection of Sermons by Mennonite Brethren Women, ed. Delores Friesen. Winnipeg, MB and Hillsboro KS: Kindred, 1996. [MBBS]

Ratcliffe, L., and *Ken Otter. “Sex Differences in Song Recognition.” In Ecology and Evolution of Acoustic Communication Among Birds, ed. D. E. Kroodsma and E. H. Miller. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, 1996. [TC]

Redekop, John H. “Decades of Transition: North American Mennonite Brethren in Politics.” In Bridging Troubled Waters: The Mennonite Brethren at Mid-Twentieth Century, ed. Paul Toews, 1984. Winnipeg, MB and Hillsboro, KS: Kindred, 1995. [CBC]

___. “The Meaning of It All.” In Unity Amidst Diversity: Mennonite Central Committee at Seventy-Five, eds. Robert S. Kreider and Ronald J. R. Mathies, 151-57. Akron, PA: Mennonite Central Committee, 1996. [CBC]

Roberts, Laura. “Parable of the Wheat and Weeds.” In All Are Witnesses, ed. Delores Friesen. Winnipeg, MB and Hillsboro, KS: Kindred, 1996. [FPU]


Bystrom, Raymond. “Ten Words for Those Who Work: Creation.” Marketplace (July/Aug 1995): 12-13. [MBBS]

___. “Ten Words for Those Who Work: Spirituality.” Marketplace (Sept/Oct 1995): 14-15. [MBBS]

___. “Ten Words for Those Who Work: Vocation.” Marketplace (Nov/Dec 1995): 10-11. [MBBS]

___. “Ten Words for Those Who Work: Evangelism.” Marketplace {105} (Jan/Feb 1996): 16-17. [MBBS]

___. “Ten Words for Those Who Work: Leadership.” Marketplace (Mar/April 1996): 14-15. [MBBS]

___. “Ten Words for Those Who Work: Community.” Marketplace (May/June 1996): 10-11. [MBBS]

Heidebrecht, Doug. “The Renewal of Perception: Romans 12:2 and Post Modernism.” Direction 25:2 (Fall 1996): 54-63. [BBI]

Jost, Lynn. “Preaching the Old Testament in the Post Modern World.” Direction 25:2 (Fall 1996): 36-43. [TC]

Martens, Elmer. “The Shape of an Old Testament Theology for Post Modern Culture.” Direction 25:2 (Fall 1996): 5-15. [MBBS]

Matson, Dale. “On Becoming a School Psychologist: On Becoming a Person Also.” CASP Today (Fall 1996). [FPU]

Otter, Ken. “Individual Variation in the Advertisement Call of Male Saw-whet Owls.” Journal of Field Ornithology 67 (1996): 398-405. [TC]

*Otter, Ken, and L. Ratcliff. “Female Initiated Divorce in a Monogamous Songbird: Abandoning Mates for Males of Higher Quality.” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 263 (1996): 351-54. [TC]

Redekop, John H. “The Components of Successful Teaching.” Laurier News, 24 January 1995, 4. [CBC]

___. “Consequences of the Quebec Referendum.” Citizen, 25 November 1995, 6. [CBC]

___. “Democracy and Fairness were Casualties in the Quebec Referendum.” Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 5 December 1995. [CBC]

___. “Religious Morality and Public Policy.” Centre Point 2:1 (Spring 1996): 4-6. [CBC]

___. “The Roots of Nazi Support Among Canadian Mennonites, 1930 to 1939. A Case Study Based on a Major Mennonite Paper.” Journal of Mennonite Studies 14 (1996): 81-95. [CBC]

Reimer, Steve. “The Tower of Babel: An Archaeologically Informed Interpretation.” Direction 25:2 (Fall 1996): 64-72. [MBBS]

Wiebe, Richard. “John Muir’s Attention Epistemology.” John Muir Newsletter (Summer 1996). [FPU]

Yoder, John. “From Monastery to Marketplace.” The Mennonite Reporter (October 1996). [FPU] {106}

Doctoral Dissertations

Forsythe, Robert. “Dynamical Systems and Temporal-Modal Logic.” Doctor of Philosophy, Mathematics. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, 1996. Advisor: Joel Robbin. Current position: Assistant Professor of Mathematics/Computer Science, Tabor College.

This dissertation studies the connections between two considerably different areas of mathematics, each of which deals with time. These areas are (1) dynamical systems, a way of modeling certain physical processes that happen through time, and (2) temporal-modal logic, a certain branch of symbolic logic that allows one to introduce (a) some of the verb tenses, specifically future and past tense, and (b) two additional modes of truth, necessity and possibility.

The study develops several different axiomatic systems for temporal-modal logic and shows that each system corresponds to a certain set of well-known characteristics of dynamical systems. The axioms concerning the modalities of necessity and possibility correspond to certain topological properties of dynamical systems, while the axioms concerning future and past tense correspond to certain constructs from dynamical systems called the backward and forward semi-orbits of a set.

The insight whose truth takes the most work to show involves mixing the two notions, modality and tense on the one hand, and topology and semi-orbits on the other. The study locates several meaningful axioms and demonstrates that they correspond to a property of dynamical systems called continuity in t. In each of the axiomatic systems developed, any given formal statement is true (i.e., can be proven true within the axiomatic system) if and only if all dynamical systems having the corresponding properties display the truth of this statement.

From a logician’s point of view, one now has an additional tool for proving (or disproving) statements: checking the corresponding dynamical systems. And, from the point of view of a mathematician working with dynamical systems, one has a new tool for investigating the validity of certain claims about classes of dynamical systems: translating the claim in the language of temporal-modal logic and using axiomatics (e.g., by writing a computer program to generate proofs) to see whether the translated claim is provable. {107}

Jost, Lynn. “ ‘Why Is 1 Kings 3-11 Lying To Me?’: Literary and Homiletic Analysis.” Doctor of Philosophy, Homiletics and Hebrew Bible. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University, 1996. Advisor: David G. Buttrick. Current position: Assistant Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies, Tabor College.

This analysis of 1 Kings 3-11 employs rhetorical, reader-response, and ideological criticism in a series of readings of the text, then inverts the critical approaches to suggest a method for preaching the text.

The three readings of the text successively employ the three critical methods. The first reading, using the categories of classical rhetorical criticism, analyzes the premises, argument, stylistic features, and persuasive aim of the text. The second reading, using a social phenomenological reader-response approach, seeks to identify the reading community implied by the text. The third reading employs Eagletonian categories to trace three major thematic motifs in 1 Kings 3-11. The three readings coincide in concluding that the text criticizes Solomon’s reign for rejecting YHWH’s justice by commodifying and accumulating wealth, wisdom, and women, suggesting that a countercultural community is the text’s ideal reader.

The homiletic method, building on the theory of David Buttrick, inverts the critical methods. The method suggests that the preacher begin sermon development by analyzing the ideology of the homiletic community and appropriating the themes raised in the ideological analysis of the text as the theological base of the sermon. The second stage of homiletic development involves devising a strategy that employs the insights of reader-response criticism to involve the hearers in the sermon. The third stage of sermon preparation uses the insights of the rhetorical approach for the tactics of argument and style. The method is tested through analysis of six sermons preached in a traditionally countercultural theological community, the Mennonite Brethren church. The study concludes with a series of homiletic suggestions. {108}

Keim, Howard. “Rhetorical Strategies and Self-Definitions of Local Leaders: Four Case Studies.” Doctor of Philosophy, Communication Studies. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas, 1996. Advisor: Robert W. Roland. Current Position: Assistant Professor of Communications, Tabor College.

The purpose of this project is to describe and analyze the communication strategies and self-definitions of local leaders. Social scientific approaches have provided useful theories of leadership, and rhetorical critical approaches have contributed concepts to describe the persuasive strategies of leaders. However, few communication-based studies have paid attention to the discourse of leaders across contexts.

Four case studies were conducted with successful local leaders in the Wichita, Kansas, area: Tom Bishop, President and CEO of Mennonite Housing and Rehabilitation Services, as well as Kansas State Representative; Dean Linsenmeyer, Pastor of the Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church; Elma Broadfoot, Mayor of Wichita; and Anita Oberwortmann, Owner and President of Wilson Building Maintenance. Each case study included recorded and transcribed discourse, interviews, direct observations, and supporting documents. The data was analyzed in terms of how the leaders defined themselves in their organizations and what strategies they used.

While specific strategies and styles varied across cases, each leader displayed a clear self-definition or rhetorical identity. Embodied and organizational stories, purpose, and placement were identified as three dimensions of rhetorical identity. These dimensions varied across cases, but were consistent within cases. In all cases, the keys to effective leadership were competence and authentic rhetorical identity.

Long, Christina Ay-Chen. “Selected Structural Elements and Aspects of Performance in Bagatelles (1971) and Konstellationen (1972) by Krystyna Moszumanska-Nazar.” Doctor of Musical Arts, Performance. Denton, TX: University of North Texas, 1996. Advisor: Adam Wodnicki. Current Position: Assistant Professor of Music, Tabor College.

This dissertation primarily concerns selected structural elements in Bagatelles, the formal design and its relations with dynamics and texture in Konstellationen, as well as the usage of indeterminacy. There are also selected aspects of performance in regard to extended technique, pedaling, and certain dynamic control problems related to the two works in question.

Chapter one introduces the historical background of Polish music and {109} the emergence of Poland as one of the leading forces in contemporary music. It also provides the musical background of Moszumanska-Nazar, as well as the stylistic features and representative works in her three compositional periods. Personal interviews and correspondence with the composer provide additional biographical and stylistic insight for this chapter.

Chapter two focuses on the aspects of structural procedure. In Bagatelles, the structural elements are: organized pitch sets, the dominance of linear interval, scale pattern, dissonant intervals, as well as the rhythmic pattern and the various metric designs. Konstellationen presents a most interesting and unusual formal design in that the elements that delineate the form are dynamics, texture, and certain pianistic devices such as the ostinato, trills, abrupt high notes, irregular fast notes, and clusters.

Chapter three addresses particularly the aleatoric elements. The study covers areas of pitch, rhythm, and form with a brief introduction of music in indeterminacy. Chapter four turns to several issues pertaining to the performance aspects. These include pedaling, extended techniques, and dynamic control. The last part of this chapter draws conclusions from the observation and analysis of the two works in question.

Miller, Douglas B. “The Symbolic Function of Hebel in the Book of Ecclesiastes.” Doctor of Philosophy, Old Testament. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Theological Seminary, 1996. Advisor: C. L. Seow. Current position: Assistant Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies, Tabor College.

This study is a rhetorical analysis of the term hebel in the book of Ecclesiastes. Its thesis is that the book employs hebel as a tensive symbol, an image, which holds together a set of meanings, or “referents,” that can neither be exhausted nor adequately expressed by any single meaning. Qohelet, the book’s author, incorporates individual metaphorical senses of the term into a single image by which he represents human experience. His use of this literary symbol is consistent both with his own linguistic practice, and with that of other ancient Near Eastern wisdom literature.

The occurrences of hebel in biblical and post-biblical writings demonstrate that its material sense is best expressed by the word “vapor”: a quantity of visible matter diffused through or suspended in the air. The breadth of the term’s application is most evident in the post-biblical material and includes heat or steam, breath, vapor within a living being, vaporous perspiration, and noxious vapor.

In metaphorical relations, though occasionally used as a “stock {110} metaphor,” hebel is predominantly “live.” It thus requires complementary or “guarding” terms that clarify the author’s intended referents. Within the book of Ecclesiastes, Qohelet employs hebel with a variety of referents, each of which may be traced to dimensions of hebel’s material sense: insubstantiality, transience, and illusion. In the process, he uses the term both descriptively and evaluatively.

In addition to employing hebel with several single referents, Qohelet occasionally uses it multivalently (two or more specific referents). In several instances, particularly within the book’s motto (1:2; 12:8), he uses it with omnivalent reference to all its possibilities, the fulfillment of his symbol-building venture.

This study of symbol and metaphor in Ecclesiastes offers further support for the coherence of the book. It proposes that the purpose of Ecclesiastes is reflected in a three-fold rhetorical strategy, by which Qohelet provides his audience ways of coping with threats to a satisfying life. The importance of the hebel-symbol is evident from its role in each aspect of this strategy.

Otter, Ken. “Female Reproductive Strategies in the Black-capped Chickadee: Their Influence on Male and Female Reproductive Success and Honesty in Male Advertisement.” Doctor of Philosophy. Kingston, ON: Queen’s University, 1996. Advisor: Laurene Ratcliffe. Present position: Instructor of Biology, Tabor College.

Black-capped chickadees are among the bird species in which females are known to actively seek extra-pair matings from males that are of higher quality than their mate. This suggests that female chickadees may adopt a mixed reproductive strategy of social monogamy while using extra-pair copulations to gain superior genetic material for their offspring. The present research (1) examines which signals females are using to assess males for extra-pair matings, and (2) attempts to demonstrate experimentally that active female mate choice exists.

Two chapters demonstrate the existence of reliable signals of male dominance rank that females could use during mate choice. The first addresses the correlation between singing behavior and winter dominance ranks. High ranking males sing longer dawn choruses, begin singing earlier in relation to dawn, and sing at higher maximum and average song rates than lower ranked males, making this a reliable cue for a female to assess the relative quality of their mate against neighboring males. The second chapter examines physical characteristics of high-ranking males that females could use to assess potential mates, such as plumage {111} variation in the throat patch, and size and ability to regrow feathers during winter food shortages.

Three chapters of the thesis address active female choice in the black-capped chickadee. Using DNA fingerprinting in sixty nests to assess paternity of young, one chapter concerns whether male reproductive success is related to stature in winter flocks. In addition, it is demonstrated that female chickadees will actively divorce their mates to pair with higher-ranking males whose mates have been removed during the early breeding season. Using wild caught males and females housed in operant chambers to monitor choice, it is determined whether female chickadees use information gathered from dominance interactions at feeders to assess males. If this is the case, females should show preferences for high-ranking males only after having been able to witness dominance interactions among the males.

The final chapter introduces a model outlining a novel cost to extra-pair copulations in a socially monogamous species, the cost of incorrectly assessing the relative quality of males.

Masters Thesis

Penner, Deborah. “Children of the Moon/Children of the Sun: Claude Wheeler and Lucy Gayheart, Cather’s Representatives of the ‘Lost Generation.’ ” M.A. in English Literature. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University, 1996. [TC]

Masters Theses, Students at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, 1996

Enomoto, Louis. “Japanese Ancestral Practices: Reaching an Understanding from a Christian Perspective.”

Klauser, Sylvia. “The Concept of the Suffering God in Feminist Theology.”

Neufeld, John F. K. “Miscarriage and Prenatal Loss: Pastoral Care Considerations.”

Reimer, Rob. “Biblical Wisdom: Solomon’s Wisdom in the Role of Church Planting.”

Ritter, Frony. “The Effect of Negative Object Relations on God-Concept Development: The Origin and Healing of Cognitive Faith.”

Thiessen, Murray. “Searching for the Heart of YHWH in Deuteronomy 22:5.”

Walker, John. “The Unique Theology of the Vineyard.” {112}

The above listing is limited to faculty or students of schools who sponsor Direction, identified as follows:

Bethany Bible Institute (BBI), Columbia Bible College (CBC), Concord College (CC), Fresno Pacific University (FPU), Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (MBBS), and Tabor College (TC). In cases of multiple authorship, the author of interest is marked with *.

Notes: Tabor publications for 1995 were reported in Vol. 25 no. 1 (Spring 1996). John H. Redekop, Professor Emeritus, Waterloo Lutheran Unversity and Professor of Political Science at Trinity Western University, was sessional instructor at Columbia Bible College during the 1996-97 school year.