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Paul J. Achtemeier

Born (1927-09-03)3 September 1927
Lincoln, Nebraska
Died 28 January 2013(2013-01-28) (aged 85)
Richmond, Virginia
Alma mater Elmhurst College;
Union Theological Seminary (New York)

Paul John Achtemeier (3 September 1927 - 28 January 2013) was Herbert Worth and Annie H. Jackson Professor of Biblical Interpretation Emeritus at Union Theological Seminary, now Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1927.[1][2]

He was a widely respected authority on the New Testament, the author or co-author of 18 books and over 60 scholarly journal articles. In addition, he was editor of a number of book series, most notably as the New Testament Editor for the series Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching and the General Editor of Harper's Bible Dictionary (1985, revised 1996), in conjunction with the Society of Biblical Literature. Achtemeier was also former editor of the quarterly Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology.



Achtemeier was an honors graduate of Elmhurst College (A.B.) and of Union Theological Seminary (New York) (B.D.), from where he also received his doctorate (Th.D.). He also studied at Princeton Theological Seminary, Heidelberg University (Germany), and the University of Basel (Switzerland).

Before coming to Union, Dr. Achtemeier taught at Elmhurst College and the Graduate School of Ecumenical Studies of the World Council of Churches, Château de Bossey, Switzerland. He was also Visiting Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

He was elected to membership in several learned societies, and served as President of the Catholic Biblical Association of America, being the first non-Catholic elected to that position. He was also the President of the Society of Biblical Literature. He died after a long illness in 2013.[3]

Partial bibliography


  • Jesus and the Miracle Tradition (2008)
  • Mark (2004)
  • Invitation to the Gospels (2002)
  • The Forgotten God: Perspectives in Biblical Theology (2002)
  • (with Joel B. Green and Marianne Meye Thompson), Introducing the New Testament: Its Literature and Theology (2001)
  • Inspiration and Authority: Nature and Function of Christian Scripture (1999)
  • HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (1996)
  • 1 Peter A Commentary on First Peter (1996) in Hermeneia Series of Augsburg Press
  • The Old Testament Roots of Our Faith (1995)
  • Interpreting the Prophets (1987)
  • Paul and the Jerusalem Church: An Elusive Unity (1987)
  • Romans (Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching) (1985)
  • The Inspiration of Scripture: Problems and Proposals (1980)

Selected Articles

  • "1 Peter 4:1-8.” Interpretation 65, 1 (January 2011): 76-78.
  • "Jews and Gentiles in the Divine Economy.” Cross Currents 59, 2 (June 2009): 144-153.
  • "1 Peter 1:13-21." Interpretation 60, 3 (July 2006): 306-308.
  • "Gods Made with Hands: The Old Testament and the Problem of Idolatry." Ex Auditu 15 (1999): 43-61.
  • "Romans 3:1-8: Structure and Argument." Anglican Theological Review 11 (March 1990), Supplement Series: 77-87.
  • "Omne verbum sonat: The New Testament and the Oral Environment of Late Western Antiquity." Journal of Biblical Literature 109, 1 (Spring 1990): 3-27.
  • "Matthew 13:1-23." Interpretation 44, 1 (January 1990): 61-65.
  • "Revelation 5:1-14." Interpretation 40, 3 (July 1986): 283-288.
  • "An Elusive Unity: Paul, Acts, and the Early Church." Catholic Biblical Quarterly 48, 1 (January 1986): 1-26.
  • "'Some Things in Them Hard to Understand': Reflections on an Approach to Paul." Interpretation 38, 3 (July 1984): 254-267.
  • "It's the Little Things That Count (Mark 14:17-21, Luke 4:1-13, Matthew 18:10-14)" Biblical Archaeologist 46, 1 (Winter 1983): 30-31.
  • "An Apocalyptic Shift in Early Christian Tradition: Reflections on Some Canonical Evidence." Catholic Biblical Quarterly 45, 2 (April 1983): 231-248.

Selected Chapters

  • "Give us a King." In Story Lines: Chapters on Thought, Word, and Deed: For Gabriel Fackre, ed. Skye Gibson. Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 2002.
  • "The Christology of 1 Peter: Some Reflections." In Who Do You Say That I Am?: Essays on Christology, eds. Mark Allan Powell and David R. Bauer. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1999.


  1. ^ Date information sourced from Library of Congress Authorities data, via corresponding WorldCat Identities linked authority file (LAF) .
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "Paul John Achtemeier".  
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