Jean-François Racine received his Ph.D. in New Testament studies in 2000 from the University of St. Michael's College, one of the theological colleges which make Toronto School of Theology. While still a doctoral student, he became assistant professor of religious studies at Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. He remained there for four years before moving to the Jesuit School of Theology. While in Chicoutimi, Racine taught biblical studies, patristics, and systematic theology. This gave him the opportunity to revisit his earlier training in theology, done at Université Laval, Québec. It also afforded him the opportunity to better perceive the connections among several theological disciplines.
During these years, Racine came to realize that we do not learn theology as if it were a body of knowledge that we need to appropriate ourselves. Rather, theology is something that needs to be done, an ongoing task which never ends. New theological questions emerge which need new theological answers. This has been the case from the beginning. Old answers are insufficient to answer new questions. The people of our world expect from us "ministers and scholars" a capacity to theologically reflect on our world.
Yet, Racine's teaching focuses on ancient texts from the 1st and 2nd century of our era. He envisions his courses as being foundational for the Christian faith, as having a capacity to show us some directions, to challenge us with their questions, and to accept being questioned from all angles. They exemplify all sorts of theological discourses, some of them colliding with each other. They bear a great variety of theological questions asked by the Jewish people over several centuries and include a great variety of answers to these questions.
Racine has been teaching courses on Paul's letters, the synoptic Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles for more than fifteen years in Trois-Rivières, Chicoutimi, Edmonton, Berkeley, and Cyberspace. He has taught them in French and in English. He notes that while he always teaches on the same topics, this never leads to teaching exactly the same courses. Each year, he gets some of the furniture of his theological house rearranged while reading and discussing these foundational texts and hopes to be able to keep it this way till the end of his career.
- “Des récits du christianisme ancien à l’autobiographie de Marie de l’Incarnation: la fonction des récits de rêves et de visions” in Marie Guyart de l'Incarnation: Singularité et universalité d'une femme de coeur et de raison. Eds. Philippe Roy-Lysencourt, Thérèse Nadeau-Lacour, and Raymond Brodeur. Ste-Foy, QC: Presses de l’Université Laval, 219-31. 2019.
- “From First-Century Mediterranea to Twenty-First-Century North America: A Long Tradition of Contextual Distance Education” in Doing Theology as if People Mattered: Encounters in Contextual Theology. Eds Deborah Ross, Eduardo C. Fernández, and Stephen B. Bevans. New York: Herder & Herder, 23-40. 2019.
- “The Text of the Bible—New Testament” in The Paulist Biblical Commentary. Eds. José Enrique Aguilar et al. Mahwah, NJ/New York, 1393-94. 2018.
- “The Edition of the Greek New Testament: A Plea and a Challenge,” in Studies on the Text of the New Testament and Early Christianity. Essays in Honor of Michael W. Holmes. Eds. Daniel M. Gurtner, Juan Hernández, jr., and Paul Foster. New Testament Tools, Studies and Documents, no. 50. Leiden: Brill, 82-97. 2015.