World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Krister Stendahl

Krister Stendahl (21 April 1921 – 15 April 2008) was a Swedish theologian and New Testament scholar,[1] and Church of Sweden Bishop of Stockholm. He also served as professor and professor emeritus at Harvard Divinity School.


  • Life 1
  • Selected bibliography 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Stendahl received his doctorate in New Testament studies from Uppsala University with his dissertation The school of St. Matthew and its use of the Old Testament (1954). He was later Professor at the Divinity School at Harvard University, where he also served as dean, before being elected Bishop of Stockholm in 1984. Stendahl was the second director of the Center for Religious Pluralism at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. After retiring in 1989, he returned to the United States, and was Mellon Professor of Divinity Emeritus at the Harvard Divinity School. He also taught at Brandeis University. Bishop Stendahl was an honorary fellow of the Graduate Theological Foundation.

Stendahl is perhaps most famous for his publication of the article "The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West". This article, along with the later publication of the book Paul Among Jews and Gentiles, conveys a new idea in Pauline studies suggesting that scholarship dating all the way back to Augustine may miss the context and thesis of Paul. His main point revolves around the early tension in Christianity between Jewish Christians and Gentile converts. He specifically argues that later interpreters of Paul have assumed a hyper-active conscience when they have begun exegesis of his works. As a result, they have suggested an overly psychological interpretation of the apostle Paul, that Paul himself would most likely not have understood at all for himself.[2]

Through his interest in the Jewish context of the New Testament, Stendahl developed an interest in Jewish Studies and was active in Jewish–Christian dialogue.

Stendahl is credited with creating Stendahl's three rules of religious understanding, which he presented in a 1985 press conference in Stockholm, Sweden, in response to vocal opposition to the building of a temple there by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His rules are as follows:

  1. When you are trying to understand another religion, you should ask the adherents of that religion and not its enemies.
  2. Don't compare your best to their worst.
  3. Leave room for "holy envy." (By this Stendahl meant that you should be willing to recognize elements in the other religious tradition or faith that you admire and wish could, in some way, be reflected in your own religious tradition or faith.)

Bishop Stendahl participated in making a Mormon Message before passing away.[3] He also was a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism.[4]

Selected bibliography

  • Stendahl, Krister. The school of St. Matthew, and its use of the Old Testament. Uppsala: C. W. K. Gleerup, Lund, 1954; 2nd ed. 1968.
  • Stendahl, Krister. Scrolls and the New Testament. NY: Harper, 1967; SCM Press, 1958. Reprint ISBN 0-8371-7171-7
  • Stendahl, Krister. The Bible and the Role of Women. Fortress Press, 1966.
  • Runyon, Theodore and Krister Stendahl. What the Spirit is Saying to the Churches: Essays. Hawthorn Books, 1975. ISBN 0-8015-8546-5
  • Stendahl, Krister. Paul Among Jews and Gentiles and Other Essays. Augsburg Fortress, 1977. ISBN 0-8006-1224-8
  • Stendahl, Krister. Meanings: The Bible As Document and As Guide. Fortress Press, 1984. ISBN 0-8006-1752-5
  • Stendahl, Krister. Holy Week Preaching. Philadelphia : Fortress Press, 1985. ISBN 0-8006-1851-3
  • Stendahl, Krister. Final Account: Paul's Letter to the Romans. Augsburg Fortress, 1995. ISBN 0-8006-2922-1
  • Stendahl, Krister. Energy for Life: Reflections on a Theme: "Come Holy Spirit, Renew the Whole Creation". Paraclete Press, 1999. ISBN 2-8254-0986-3 ISBN 1-55725-233-5
  • Nickelsburg, George and George Macrae, eds. Christians Among Jews and Gentiles: Essays in Honor of Krister Stendahl on His 65th Birthday. Fortress Press, 1986. ISBN 0-8006-1943-9
  • Horsley, Richard A., ed. Paul and Politics: Ekklesia, Israel, Imperium, Interpretation. Trinity Press, 2000. ISBN 1-56338-323-3


  1. ^ Kristen Stendahl, 1921-2008
  2. ^ Krister Stendahl, Paul among Jews and Gentiles Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1976.
  3. ^ Why Mormons Build Temples,
  4. ^ Stendahl, Krister (1992). "Baptism for the Dead: Ancient Sources". In  .

External links

  • A taped address to the Annual Assembly of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, December 9, 1972 is in the Andover-Harvard Theological Library at Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Writings of Krister Stendahl, from Harvard Divinity School Faculty Writings File
  • Personal reflections about Bishop Stendahl and his ministry
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.