Joseph Fitzmyer

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Fr. Joseph Fitzmyer, SJ
Orders
OrdinationAugust 15, 1951
Personal details
Birth nameJoseph Augustine Fitzmyer
BornNovember 4, 1920
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
DiedDecember 24, 2016(2016-12-24) (aged 96)
Merion Station, Pennsylvania, United States
NationalityAmerican
DenominationRoman Catholic
OccupationJesuit priest, Biblical scholar, theologian
Alma materLoyola University Chicago
Catholic University of Leuven
Johns Hopkins University
Pontifical Biblical Institute

Joseph Augustine Fitzmyer SJ (November 4, 1920 – December 24, 2016) was an American Catholic priest of the Society of Jesus and professor emeritus at The Catholic University of America, in Washington, DC.

He specialized in biblical studies, particularly the New Testament, but he also made contributions to the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and early Jewish literature.[1]

Life[edit]

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1920, Fitzmeyer was admitted, on July 30, 1938, to the novitiate of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits, in Wernersville, Pennsylvania. After completing that stage of his formation in the summer of 1940, he was sent to study at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree and then, in 1945, a Master of Arts degree in Greek. He then studied theology in the Facultés Saint-Albert (Egenhoven-Louvain), Belgium, and was ordained a Catholic priest on August 15, 1951. He was granted a Licentiate of Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) by the Catholic University of Leuven in 1952, a doctorate in Semitics from the Johns Hopkins University in 1956, and a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture (S.S.L.) from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome in 1957.

From 1958 to 1969, Fitzmyer taught New Testament and biblical languages at Woodstock College. From 1969 to 1971, he taught Aramaic and Hebrew at the University of Chicago and then New Testament and biblical languages at Fordham University (1971-1974), at Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1974-1976), and finally in the Department of Biblical Studies at The Catholic University of America (1976-1986) as Professor of New Testament until his retirement. His publications covered Scripture, theology, Christology, catechesis, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

A co-editor of the New Jerome Biblical Commentary, he also served as president of the Catholic Biblical Association of America (1969-1970), of the Society of Biblical Literature (1979), and of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (1992-1993).

Fitzmyer, the Speaker's Lecturer at the University of Oxford in 1974-1975, was the 1984 recipient of the Burkitt Medal of the British Academy, and he served on the Pontifical Biblical Commission from 1984 to 1995.[2][3]

Fitzmyer was a member of the Jesuit community at Georgetown University, Washington, DC. He died in Merion, Pennsylvania, on December 24, 2016.[4]

Scholarship[edit]

Fitzmyer contributed to several biblical commentaries, including the Jerome Biblical Commentary,[5] the New Jerome Biblical Commentary,[6] and the Anchor Bible Commentary.[7] His contribution to the Anchor Bible Commentary included work on The Gospel of Luke (in two volumes), Acts of the Apostles, 1 Corinthians, Romans, and Philemon. In the New Jerome Biblical Commentary, he has articles intriducing the New Testament Epistles, Galatians, Romans, Philemon and on the history of Israel as well as Paul and Pauline theology. In the last one, after a historical review of 40 themes, he concludes:

As Christ was "the image of the God" (2 Cor 4:4) so human beings are destined to be "the image of the heavenly man" (1 Cor 15:49; cf. Rom 8:29). [Through] growth in Christ ... the Christian lives his or her life "for God" (Gal 2:19). Thus, for all his emphasis on Christ, Paul once again refers Christian existence ultimately to the Father – through Christ.[8]

Fitzmyer published three commentaries on Romans: The Jerome Biblical Commentary (1968), The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (1989), and the Anchor Bible Commentary (1993). The last work runs over 800 pages, and from it came a very practical and spiritually accessible work, Spiritual Exercises Based on Paul's Epistle to the Romans.[9] The creative endeavor links biblical commentary and exegeses with modern spirituality. In it, Fitzmyer lays out his interpretation of Romans in a more condensed form. Using historical and rhetorical criticism, Paul's Jewish background and Graeco-Roman setting fail to prevent Fitzmyer from seeing coherency in Paul's message.

While some scholars argue that Paul's theology is largely dependent on its context, such as the crisis in the Corinthian community, Fitzmyer argues for a vital application of Romans to our modern context.

In his The Impact of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Fitzmyer summarizes in the book his 50 years of research as a pioneer in the field.[10]

Selected works[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Fitzmyer, Joseph (1964). The Historical Truth of the Gospels: the 1964 instruction of the Biblical Commission. Glen Rock, NJ: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-3253-9. See "The Biblical Commission's Instruction" below for earliest publication in English.
  • ——— (1967). The Aramaic Inscriptions of Sefîre (2nd ed.). Rome: Pontificial Biblical Institute. ISBN 978-8-8765-3347-1.
  • ——— (1979). The Semitic Background of the New Testament Volume II: A Wandering Aramean: Collected Aramaic Essays. Biblical Resource Series (3rd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-4846-8.
  • ——— (1981). The Gospel According to Luke 1-9. Anchor Yale Bible. 28. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-3850-0515-9.
  • Reumann, John Henry Paul; ——— (1982). Righteousness in the New Testament: Justification in the United States Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue. Philadelphia, PA & New York: Fortress Press & Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-2436-7.
  • ——— (1985). The Gospel according to Luke 10-24. Anchor Yale Bible. 28A. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-3851-5542-7.
  • ——— (1986). Scripture and Christology: a statement of the Biblical Commission with a commentary. New York: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-2789-4.
  • ——— (1989). Paul and His Theology: A Brief Sketch (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-1365-4419-7.
  • ——— (1990). Brown, Raymond E.; et al., eds. The New Jerome Biblical commentary. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-2256-6803-2.
  • ———; Glanzman, George S. (1990). An Introductory Bibliography for the Study of Scripture (3rd ed.). Rome: Pontificio Istituto Biblico. ISBN 978-8-8765-3592-5.
  • ——— (1990). The Dead Sea Scrolls: major publications and tools for study (Revised ed.). Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press. ISBN 978-0-8841-4053-5.
  • ——— (1991). A Christological Catechism: New Testament Answers (Second ed.). Glen Rock, NJ: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-3253-9.
  • ——— (1992). Responses to 101 Questions on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Glen Rock, NJ: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-3348-2.
  • ———; Kaufman, Stephen A. (1992). An Aramaic Bibliography: Part I: Old, Official, and Biblical Aramaic (Publications of The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon Project). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-4312-9.
  • ——— (1993). According to Paul: Studies in the Theology of the Apostle. Glen Rock, NJ: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-3390-1.
  • ——— (1993). Romans. Anchor Yale Bible. 33. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-3001-4078-1.
  • ——— (1994). Scripture: The Soul of Theology. Glen Rock, NJ: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-3509-7.
  • ———; Harrington, Daniel J. (1994). A Manual of Palestinian Aramaic texts: (second century B.C.-second century A.D.) (2nd ed.). Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico. ISBN 978-8876533341.
  • ——— (1995). The Biblical Commission's Document "The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church: Text and Commentary. Subsidia biblica. 18. Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico. ISBN 978-8-8765-3605-2.
  • ——— (1995). Spiritual Exercises Based on Paul's Epistle to the Romans. Glen Rock, NJ: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-3580-6.
  • ——— (1997). The Semitic Background of the New Testament Volume I: Essays on the Semitic Background of the New Testament. Biblical Resource Series (Reprint ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-4845-1.
  • ——— (1997). The Semitic Background of the New Testament: Combined Edition of "Essays on the Semitic Background of the New Testament" and "A Wandering Aramean". Biblical Resource Series (Combined ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-4344-9.
  • ——— (1998). The Acts of the Apostles. Anchor Yale Bible. 31. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-3854-6880-0.
  • ——— (1998). To Advance the Gospel: New Testament Studies. Biblical Resource Series (2nd ed.). New York: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0802844255.
  • ——— (2000). The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins. Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls & Related Literature. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-4650-1.
  • ——— (2001). The Letter to Philemon. Anchor Yale Bible. 34C. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-3001-4055-2.
  • ——— (2002). Tobit. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-1101-7574-5.
  • ——— (2004). The Genesis Apocryphon of Qumran Cave 1 (1Q20): a commentary (3rd ed.). Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico. ISBN 978-8-8765-3318-1.
  • ——— (2007). The One Who is to Come. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-4013-4.
  • ——— (2008). 1 Corinthians. Anchor Yale Bible. 33. New York: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-3001-4044-6.
  • ——— (2008). Luke the Theologian: Aspects of His Teaching. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock. ISBN 978-1-5924-4959-0.
  • ——— (2008). The Interpretation of Scripture: In Defense of the Historical-Critical Method. New York: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-4504-1.
  • ——— (2008). A Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature. Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls & Related Literature (Revised & expanded ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-6241-9.
  • ——— (2009). The Impact of the Dead Sea Scrolls. New York: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-4615-4.

Articles and chapters[edit]

  • ——— (1964). "The Biblical Commission's Instruction on the historical truth of the Gospels". Theological Studies. 25: 386–408.

Festschrift[edit]

  • M. P. Horgan and P. J. Kobelski, To Touch the Text: Biblical and Related Studies in Honor of Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J. New York: Crossroad, 1989.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Dead Sea Scrolls". Alba House. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012.
  2. ^ Schiffman, Lawrence. "Joseph Fitzmyer: An Appreciation".
  3. ^ Donahue, John (2013). "Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J.: Scholar and Teacher of the Word of God". US Catholic Historian. 31 (4): 63–83.
  4. ^ "Remembering Joseph Fitzmyer, S.J." America Magazine. 2016-12-24. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  5. ^ Brown, Raymond, S.S.; Fitzmyer, Joseph, S.J.; Murphy, Roland, O.Carm. (1969). The Jerome Biblical Commentary. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc.
  6. ^ Brown, Raymond, S.S.; Fitzmyer, Joseph, S.J.; Murphy, Roland, O.Carm (1989). The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Pearson.
  7. ^ Fitzmyer, Joseph (1993). Romans: The Anchor Bible Commentary. Connecticut: Yale University Press.
  8. ^ Brown, Raymond Edward; Fitzmyer, Joseph A; Murphy, Roland Edmund (1990). The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice-Hall. p. 1416. ISBN 0136149340.
  9. ^ Fitzmyer, Joseph (1995). Spiritual Exercises Based on Paul's Epistle to the Romans. Maryland: Paulist Press.
  10. ^ "The Impact of the Dead Sea Scrolls". Retrieved 15 December 2015.

External links[edit]