(Union Presbyterian Seminary) Paul John Achtemeier, the Herbert Worth and Annie H. Jackson professor emeritus of Biblical Interpretation at of Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Va., died Jan. 28 at his home after a long illness. He was 85.
Born in l927 in Lincoln, Neb., Achtemeier – known as “Bud” to his friends – earned a bachelor of arts degree from Elmhurst College and two degrees from Union Theological Seminary in New York, including a doctor of theology. He also studied at Princeton Theological Seminary, Heidelberg University in Germany, and at the University of Basel in Switzerland.
Before coming to Richmond to teach at Union seminary, Achtemeier taught at Elmhurst College and at the Graduate School of Ecumenical Studies of the World Council of Churches in Switzerland. He was also a visiting professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pa. Achtemeier also was the first Protestant elected as president of the Catholic Biblical Association of America, and served as treasurer, secretary and president of the Society of Biblical Literature.
Achtemeier was an internationally recognized scholar, having published 18 books and more than 60 journal articles. In addition, he served as New Testament editor for the series Interpretation: Biblical Commentaries for Teaching and Preaching and as general editor of Harper’s Bible Dictionary.
In his honor, a festschrift, “The Forgotten God” (edited by two of his former students, Frank Matera and Andrew Das), was published and presented on his 75th birthday.
Achtemeier was preceded in death in 2002 by his first wife, Elizabeth Rice Achtemeier, to whom he was married for over 50 years. He is survived by his second wife, Sandra M. Levy; a son, P. Mark Achtemeier and his wife, Katherine Achtemeier of Dubuque, Iowa; a daughter, Marie A. Finch, and her husband, Paul Finch, of Norfolk, Va.; five grandchildren; and two stepsons and their families.
Funeral services will be at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Va.
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