Home Book Wayne A. Meeks, influential scholar in New Testomony research

Wayne A. Meeks, influential scholar in New Testomony research

Wayne A. Meeks, influential scholar in New Testomony research
Wayne A. Meeks
Wayne A. Meeks

Wayne Atherton Meeks, Woolsey Professor of Biblical Research, Emeritus, an influential scholar who helped form modern New Testomony and Early Christian research, died on Jan. 10 at Yale New Haven Hospital. He was 91.

Meeks had broad experience within the origins of Christianity and decoding the New Testomony. He was one of many foremost authorities on the social world of the Apostle Paul, on the Fourth Gospel, and on the formation of Christian morality.

His e book “The First City Christians: The Social World of the Apostle Paul” (1983) acquired the Biblical Archeological Evaluation Award for Finest E-book on the New Testomony, and the American Academy of Faith Award. In 2009, the Society of Biblical Literature held a session devoted to exploring the impression of this e book on the sector 25 years after its publication.

Amongst his different books are “The Ethical World of the First Christians” (1986) and “The Origins of Christian Morality: The First Two Centuries” (1993), which was named the “greatest new e book” in philosophy and faith by the American Affiliation of Publishers. He was a guide and interviewee for 2 widely-viewed PBS tv sequence — “The Kingdom of David: The Saga of the Israelites” (2003) and “From Jesus to Christ” (1998).

On listening to of Meeks’ demise, John Barclay, the Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham College, remembered him as “an completely sensible scholar — cautious, inventive, ground-breaking, and deeply clever. He’s for me in a category of a tiny variety of prime New Testomony students of all time. His potential to write down stunning, crafted prose was an indication of his cultivated, clear thoughts, and his cultural reference factors had been broad and deep.”

Dean Béchard, S.J., Professor of New Testomony Research on the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, famous additionally that he was the information to many doctoral college students, “to whom I attempt to cross on, in some measure, what I acquired from Meeks in nice abundance: the capability to learn rigorously and broadly, the braveness to ask new questions, the self-discipline wanted to seek for legitimate solutions, and an abiding respect for individuals who see issues otherwise.”

Meeks was born in Aliceville, Alabama, and acquired his B.S. in physics from the College of Alabama, and his B.D. from Austin Theological Seminary in Texas. Earlier than coming to Yale for graduate research he was a college pastor in Memphis, Tennessee.

Experiences as a southerner — what he stored and what he left behind — propelled Meeks and knowledgeable his investigation of religion and morality. Consciousness of the contradictions inherent within the Southern racial divide that existed alongside intimacy between races in on a regular basis life led him to probe and query Christian ethics relatively than merely signify them. The stark contradictions of Southern gentility and racial violence propelled his sense of justice and of accountability for simply motion. In a chapter entitled “The Irony of Grace” (2002), he related the irony present in these contradictions — contradictions he additionally present in Christian doctrine — and what he labeled “religion’s ironies,” ironies that motivated his sociological rethinking of the origins of early Christian morality.

After incomes his Yale Ph.D., he taught briefly at Dartmouth Faculty and Indiana College earlier than returning to Yale in 1969. Throughout his lengthy tenure, he was each chair of the Division of Spiritual Research and director of the Division of the Humanities. In 1999 he was the chair of a particular committee of 10 distinguished college members who established the laws for the now profitable Koerner Middle for Retired School.

He served as president of the Society of Biblical Literature and Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (SNTS). He held an honorary doctorate from the College of Uppsala and was a corresponding fellow of the British Academy and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2004 he acquired the prized Yale Phi Beta Kappa DeVane Medal for instructing and scholarship.

Kai Erikson, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology and American Research, Emeritus provided the next tribute:

“Obituaries have a method of specializing in the careers of sensible students who contribute in vital methods to public information. Nobody deserves that greater than Wayne Meeks. However many people who felt near him will wish to deal with him as an individual, a human being.

Wayne and I had been members of a bunch of ageing lecturers who met repeatedly to share ideas and emotions with each other. Wayne stunned us sooner or later when he introduced, with a broad smile, ‘I’m not a believer.’

We took him to imply that the myths circulating in early Christianity weren’t at all times correct and that there could not have been angels residing in a distant heaven overhead or devils plotting deep beneath the floor of the earth. However he knew the methods and teachings of Jesus and revered them with out a hint of flourish or pronouncement. His was a lifetime of sheer decency — providing a delicate kindness to, taking shut care of, exhibiting respect for, instructing softly, and simply plain loving.”

Meeks’ first spouse, Martha Fowler Meeks, died in 1996, and his brothers, Kenyon and Rufus Meeks, additionally predeceased him. He’s survived by his second spouse of 23 years, Judith Colton, Professor of the Historical past of Artwork, Emerita; by his daughters, Suzanne Meeks (Russell Vandenbroucke), Edith Meeks (Peter Coston), and Ellen Meeks (Kevin McCarty); grand-daughter Elena Meeks (Kevin Laskee); and great-grandsons Vincent Meeks and Vaughn Laskee. There can be a personal interment adopted by a memorial service to be held at a later date.


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