Sofanit Tamene Abebe

Sofanit Tamene Abebe
Biblical and Theological Studies | New Testament

After a science background with two years into a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at the University of Wales, U.K., I began my theological studies at the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology with research ultimately focused on the theme of suffering in 1 Peter and its background in 1 Enoch. I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the New Testament that focuses on an early Christian theology of suffering within the literary and social context of Second Temple Judaism and in conversation with 1 Enoch and related traditions. The dramatic switch from the Life Sciences to Biblical Studies came as a result of a long and painful search for meaning and a deeper sense of purpose following a family tragedy. In retrospect, I had always been convinced that I would one day study God’s word at a formal institution. EGST was thus an answer to my unuttered prayer as much as it was my balm from Gilead.


  • Ph.D. Student at the University of Edinburgh in the study of Christian origins, in particular the significance of suffering in 1 Enoch, related Jewish texts and non-Pauline epistles.
  • M.Th. from the Ethiopian Graduate of Theology (2015). Thesis title: The Significance of 1 Enoch 108 to 1 Peter: A Socio-Narrative Reading of Suffering, Liminality and ‘Ănāwȋm Identity
  • M.A. in Biblical Studies from the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology, summa cum laude (2014). Thesis title: The Law in the Christ Era According to Luke 16:14–18: The Significance of Jesus’ Reinterpretation of the Mosaic Divorce Law
  • Post-Graduate Diploma in Biblical and Theological Studies, summa cum laude (2013).
  • M.S. at Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Germany (November 2008).
  • B.S. at Jacobs University Bremen, Germany (June 2006).

My research interests generally revolve around the use of theories and models in the social sciences and literary criticism to study the social history, literature and ideological perspectives of Second Temple Judaism in conversation with the texts of early Christianity. I am also interested in theological interpretation and the task of engaging ancient texts to inform modern conversations, in particular on the theme of suffering.

Upon the completion of my Ph.D., I hope to teach topics in Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity. I hope to contribute to efforts at EGST aimed at equipping the many pastors, evangelists, denominational, and home leaders to engage in conversation the rich repository of Christian texts, thinkers, and sojourners.


“Suffering, Liminality and ‘Ănāwȋm Identity in 1 Enoch 108: Towards a Theology of Persecution,” in The Blessing of Enoch: 1 Enoch and Contemporary Theology. Edited by Philip F. Esler (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2017).

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