Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan, Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale and perhaps the finest historian of Christian theology of the twentieth century, died over the weekend of lung cancer (82 yrs). You can read his obituary at the New York Times here.
I was introduced to his superior work in Christian history as an undergraduate in Religious Studies. He became a staple in my library and I used his works extensively in my research for various papers at Princeton Seminary. He was the author of some 40 books.
If you're not familiar with Dr. Pelikan or his writings, then take a look at the profile written by Mark Noll in 1990 republished this week at Christianity Today, as well as Dr. Pelikan's own excellent essay, "The Predicament of the Christian Historian."
In 2004, he was awarded the Kluge Prize for lifetime achievement in the humanities and social sciences, considered by many to be the Nobel Prize for the humanities. The son of a Lutheran pastor and grandson of a Lutheran bishop, Dr. Pelikan converted to Eastern Orthodoxy in 1998.
BTW: The above photo was taken with Dr. Pelikan in 1989. (I used to sport a beard!) He was lecturing at a special Religious Studies event at Florida International University where I was completing my Doctoral degree. While posing together, he thanked me for being his point man during his talk. He went on to explain that it was his tradition to find a receptive onlooker to establish significant eyesight with while speaking. I was Jaroslav’s point-man for the hour!