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Joel D. Heck
|Alma mater||Th.D. in Exegetical Theology from Concordia Seminary, Th.M. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, M.Div. from Concordia Theological Seminary, B.A. from Concordia Senior College, A.A. from Concordia University Wisconsin|
|Known for||scholarship about C. S. Lewis|
Joel D. Heck (born 1 October 1948) is Professor of Theology at Concordia University Texas  and formerly Executive Editor of Concordia University Press. He is the author or editor of fourteen books, most publishing From Atheism to Christianity: The Story of C. S. Lewis. He teaches courses in Old and New Testament, Reformation history, and the life and writings of C. S. Lewis.
Joel D. Heck was born in Seward, Nebraska and raised in a pastor's family in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. His father, Rev. Donald E. Heck (1916-1991), was a pastor of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, who served congregations in Michigan, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. His sermon translations of the Gospel sermons of C. F. W. Walther have been published by Concordia Publishing House in two volumes. Rev. Heck and wife Lucille (1915-2004), whose biographies reside at the Concordia Historical Institute in St. Louis, Missouri, raised five children, with Joel the oldest son and third child overall (siblings Barbara, Doris, Christine, and Thomas). Donald Heck was especially known for his translations of C. F. W. Walter's sermons from the German and for his bulletin insert service.
Heck holds the A.A. from Concordia University Wisconsin, the B.A. from Concordia Senior College, the M.Div. from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, the Th.M. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois, and the Th.D. in Exegetical Theology from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He spent his seminary vicarage year at Trinity Lutheran Church in Bogota, New Jersey.
He served as pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, Valley Park, Missouri, from 1975 to 1984, serving as Chair of the Missouri District Board of Evangelism for much of that time. He then served as Theology professor at Concordia University Wisconsin from 1984 to 1998, and Chief Academic Officer and then full-time Theology professor at Concordia University Texas from 1998 to the present. During his sabbatical in Oxford, England, in 2004, he worked with Walter Hooper on Volume III of Collected Letters, the third and last volume of the letter of C. S. Lewis, by transcribing many letters written by Lewis and doing bibliographical work on the book. A second sabbatical in 2012, this time in Cambridge, England, allowed him to do more work on Lewis, especially Lewis's service on the Council of Westcott House, while staying at Westfield House, a theological college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England. Over the course of his ministry, he has developed a passion for teaching, for research and writing, for the Scriptures, and for the works of C. S. Lewis. Heck is an avid sports fan, especially following the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
During the decade between 1987 and 1997, Heck edited a quarterly periodical called Evangelism, devoted to encouraging and equipping Christian people for outreach. While authoring or editing fifteen books, he has written numerous articles, book reviews, and essays, most notably on topics related to C. S. Lewis. He has donated the Joel D. Heck Collection at the Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton College. This is a collection of letters related to Lewis and originally written to Dr. Heck about the experiences of former students of Lewis. Heck has researched events in the life of C. S. Lewis, catalogued day by day and year by year throughout Lewis' life, an extensive database of more than 700,000 words and nearly 1,300 pages of biographical information, called "Chronologically Lewis," that is available on his website at www.joelheck.com. This database has become the "go to" place for Lewis scholars who need historical and biographical information about Lewis and has led to the publication of a C. S. Lewis calendar through Concordia University Press, several articles, and at least two books. The research also contains the military record of Lewis' brother, Warren Lewis.
Heck and his wife Cheryl have three grown children (Peter, Brenda, and Alan), and reside in Austin, Texas.
In addition to articles published in The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society,The Journal of Biblical Literature, and Bibliotheca Sacra, Heck has written many book reviews and several articles for CSL: The Journal of the New York C.S. Lewis Society,Sehnsucht, The Lamp-Post, and The Chronicle of the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society.
And several devotional booklets (two for Advent and one for Lent) based on the writings of C. S. Lewis (2009: "A Grand Miracle," 2016: "Peace, Hope, Light," and 2015: "Mercy, Passion, & Joy") from Creative Communications for the Parish. These booklets collectively have sold nearly a half-million copies.