Thursday, April 17, 2008

Krister Stendahl Dead at 86

I learned this morning of the death of Krister Stendahl on Tuesday of this week. Stendahl was a Swedish New Testament scholar who taught at Harvard Divinity School for many years and was Dean of the Faculty for a good bit of that time. He was also ordained in the Church of Sweden and served as the Bishop of Stockholm from 1984-88.

Students of the New Testament are most likely to know Stendahl's name not because of his several books or his many years of teaching at Harvard, but because of an article he published back in 1963, "The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Consciousness of the West."

Stendahl made the case that someone in Europe or America reading Romans in the middle of the twentieth century was not really hearing Paul. Instead, that person was hearing an interpretation, a "take" highly influenced by two men who stand between us and Paul: Augustine and Luther. With that essay--which you've no doubt read if you studied NT with Richard Oster at Harding Graduate School--Stendahl did much to re-open the question of whether or not we moderns have gotten Paul right. And that question is what led to the so-called "New Perspective" on Paul.

Stendahl's article has been reprinted in any number of collections, but I've not been able to find a copy on the web. To get the gist of what he said, though, you can read a review essay by Bill DeJong. For more about Stendahl himself, see the obituary and tribute at Harvard Divinity School's website .

I'm interested in hearing from those who may have studied with Stendahl, or have been helped along the way by his written work.

1 comment:

preacherman said...

What a loss and I pray for his family during this time of grief.
Thanks for letting us all know about this brother. He was such a scholar.