Kuzhivelil Mathew

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Kuzhivelil V. Mathew
Born (1931-11-02)2 November 1931
Church Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church
Ordained 1955
Writings See Contents - 3.Writings
Offices held
Title Reverend Doctor

Kuzhivelil Varkey Mathew (born 2 November 1931) is a biblical scholar and a member[2] of the Society for Biblical Studies in India. He is a recipient of the fourth highest Indian civilian award of Padma Shri.[3]



Kuzhuvelil Varkey Mathew was born in Keezhuvaipur in Kerala to Rachel and K. T. Varkey. Mathew studied at the local CMS High School in Mallapally in Pathanamthitta District and later underwent pre-university studies at the CMS College in Kottayam.


After Mathew evinced interest in pursuing studies in divinity, the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church then headed by Juhanon Mar Thoma (Mar Thoma XVIII) sent him to Serampore College, Serampore where he pursued graduate studies in theology from 1951 to 1955.[4]

The Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church ordained Mathew as a Clergy in 1955. He was made Vicar in Mylom. After briefly donning the pastoral role, Mathew was sent again to Serampore College from 1956 to 1957. He then studied at the United Theological College,[5] Bengaluru in the ensuing academic year to pursue post-graduate studies in Biblical Studies leading to M. Th. in Old Testament thereby becoming the first Indian to pursue a post-graduate course in Old Testament under the Senate of Serampore College (University), a State University[6] of the Government of West Bengal and recognised by the University Grants Commission under Section 2 (f)[6] of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956. Mathew studied Old Testament under the Old Testament specialist, Professor Norman Henry Snaith, then a Visiting Professor at the Seminary in Bengaluru,[5] and worked out a thesis using the Septuagint.

From 1958 to 1960 Mathew was Vicar of the Mar Thoma Parish in Calcutta.[7]


Mathew began teaching Old Testament in Serampore College, a constituent College of the Senate of Serampore College (University),[8] Serampore beginning from the academic year 1960[9] till 1971 when his parent Church, the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church recalled[9] him to Kottayam for teaching in the Mar Thoma Theological Seminary. Paulose Mar Paulose, D. S. Satyaranjan, G. Babu Rao, S. Jeyapaul David and James Massey were few of the students of K. V. Mathew. One of his old students, G. Babu Rao returned to Serampore to teach Old Testament from 1974. Mathew's teaching colleagues included Y. D. Tiwari and others.

Starting from the academic year 1971-1972, Mathew began teaching Old Testament in the Mar Thoma Theological Seminary, Kottayam. In 1981, he was made Principal of the Mar Thoma Theological Seminary and continued in that position till 1986.

Mathew was also on the panel of Professors under the Federated Faculty for Research in Religion and Culture[10] (FFRRC), Kerala and served as a guide to post-graduate and doctoral students. In 2000, K. V. Mathew was invited by the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar (Delhi Diocese) to serve as the Principal[11] of Dharma Jyoti Vidyapeeth {affiliated to the Senate of Serampore College (University)}, Faridabad. Mathew held the reins of this institution in Faridabad till 2002.


  • Mar Thoma Sabha

After two decades of teaching in the Seminary in Kottayam, Mathew was made the Secretary[10] of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church in 1987 continuing till 1990 under Metropolitan Alexander Mar Thoma (Mar Thoma XIX).

  • Society for Biblical Studies in India

The Society for Biblical Studies in India was constituted by Biblical Scholars to foster Biblical scholarship in relation to the Indian context. Mathew also served as an office-bearer[clarification needed] of the SBSI. He was twice elected as its President in 1983 and 1994.[12]


He studied biblical languages, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.[13]


Hermann Gunkel - the Father of OT scholarship.
Sigmund Mowinckel, who inspired Mathew.

Mathew did original research on the Psalms at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.[13]

Subhasito Snehomoyo Patro of Jeypore who researched at the University of Kiel, Germany in 1976 cited both Sigmund Mowinckel and Mathew on the issue of Royal Psalms[14] categorized by Hermann Gunkel.

Mathew edited the One-Volume Bible Commentary in Malayalam. He worked with Chief Editor E. C. John.[10]

Scholarly Contributions[edit]

Ronald E. Manahan, the President of Grace College, Winona Lake, Indiana in his doctoral dissertation entitled A Re-examination of the Cultural Mandate: An analysis and Evaluation of the Dominion Materials[15] cites K. V. Mathew:

L. Jayachitra, a New Testament Scholar[16] in an article discussed the gender identity of God where she quoted K. V. Mathew:

Joseph Oomen, a Priest of the Mar Thoma Church[17] quotes K. V. Mathew on the topic concerning God.

Taking the above cue from Dr. Mathew, Oomen builds up his article thus:

In the expression ‘Eheh’6 the ‘ousia’ of God is denoted not by a static being but a dynamic creative becoming. The Hebrew word Elohim is plural. So the single Godhead comprises the majesty of divine plurality. The nature of God as it is shown in the book of Genesis implies that God is a family (Genesis 5:2-3); God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4, Exodus 20:3).


  • Ancient Religions of the Fertile Crescent and the Sanatana Dharma[18]
  • Trinity-Semantic Considerations[19]
  • The Concept of God and Nature in the Psalms[15]
  • The Hermeneutical Struggle in India[20]
  • Indigenisation: An Old Testament Perspective[21]
  • The faith and practice of the Mar Thoma Church[22]
  • Walking humbly with God : A Biography of the Rev. C. E. Abraham[23]
  • Ecological Perspectives in the Book of Psalms[24]
  • Crisis and Hope in Israel's Exile[25]
  • Dr. M. M. Thomas - A Grateful Memory[26]
  • Last Supper - A Kingdom Perspective[25]
  • Ecology and Faith in the Old Testament[10]

Higher Studies[edit]

While teaching Old Testament in Serampore College, Mathew availed study leave[clarification needed] and proceeded to the University of Edinburgh,[13] Scotland in the academic year 1962 to 1963[9] and enrolled to pursue doctoral studies in the field of Old Testament under Professors G. W. Anderson,[27] N. W. Porteous[28] and R. E. Clements,[29] who were then teaching at the University of Edinburgh. Between 1964 and 1968, Mathew returned to Serampore College, Serampore to take up his teaching assignments. He left the College again in 1968-1969 to spend a year at the University of Hamburg, Germany under Klaus Koch. In the final phase of his doctoral research, he spent the final academic year (1969-1970) at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and submitted a thesis on the topic God and Nature in the Book of Psalms thereby becoming the first Indian to be awarded a doctorate by the Faculty of Theology of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Visiting scholar[edit]

After leaving the Seminary in Kottayam in 1994, Mathew spent three years as a Vicar of the Parish in Ranni. In 1997, he was Visiting Professor[25] at the Aizawl Theological College, Aizawl. In 1999 and 2008, he was a Visiting Professor at his alma mater in Serampore. From 2000 to 2002 he took up the Principalship[11] of Dharma Jyoti Vidyapeeth in Faridabad.

Offices held[edit]

Professional and academic associations
Preceded by
K. David /
R. J. Raja
Society for Biblical Studies in India

1983–1985 /
Succeeded by
R. Van de Walle /
P. A. Sampath Kumar
Academic offices
Preceded by
K. C. Mathew
Mar Thoma Theological Seminary, Kottayam

1981 - 1986
Succeeded by
M. J. Joseph
Preceded by
Dharma Jyoti Vidyapeeth, Faridabad

2000 - 2002
Succeeded by
V. S. Varghese

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clergy Address, Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church
  2. ^ a b Fr. Max Gonsalves (Ed.), Society for Biblical Studies in India Directory 1998. Entry 131, page 30.
  3. ^ "Padma Shri" (PDF). Padma Shri. 2015. Retrieved June 17, 2015. 
  4. ^ S. Muthaiah, Neurology and the spiritual, The Hindu, Monday, 15 March 2004. [1]
  5. ^ a b The United Theological College, Directory 1910-1997, Bengaluru, 1997. p.7 and p.103.[2]
  6. ^ a b Under Section 2 (f) of the UGC Act, 1956, University means a University established or incorporated by or under a Central Act, a Provincial Act or a State Act, and includes any such institution as may, in consultation with the University concerned, be recoginsed by the Commission in accordance with the regulations made in this behalf under this Act. The UGC took the opinion that the Senate fell under the purview of Section 2 (f) of the said Act since The Serampore College Act, 1918 was passed by the Government of West Bengal.[3]
  7. ^ P. Thankappan Nair, South Indians in Kolkata : History of Kannadigas, Konkanis, Malayalees, Tamilians, Telugus, South Indian dishes, and Tippoo Sultan's heirs in Calcutta, Published by Punthi Pustak, Kolkata, 2004.[4]
  8. ^ V. C. Samuel (Edited), The Indian journal of theology, Volume 13, 1964. [5]
  9. ^ a b c The Council of Serampore College, The Story of Serampore and its College, Fourth Edition 2005, Serampore.
  10. ^ a b c d P. Jegadish Gandhi, K. C. John, Upon the winds of wider ecumenism: essays and tributes in honour of Rev. Dr. M. J. Joseph, Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, New Delhi, 2006. p.349. [6].
  11. ^ a b National Council of Churches Review, Volume 120, Published by National Christian Council of India, 2000. p. 950. [7]
  12. ^ Cf. Wikipedia article on Society for Biblical Studies in India
  13. ^ a b c Katharine Smith Diehl, Early Indian imprints, Published by Scarecrow Press, 1964.[8]
  14. ^ Subhasito Snehomoyo Patro, Royal psalms in modern scholarship, an unpublished dissertation submitted to the University of Kiel, Germany, 1976.[9]
  15. ^ a b Ronald E. Manahan, A Re-examination of the Cultural Mandate: An analysis and Evaluation of the Dominion Materials, An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Doctor of Theology in Grace Theological Seminary, May 1982, Winona Lake, Indiana. [10]
  16. ^ L. Jayachitra, A Postcolonial Feminist Biblical Interpretation : Mary Magdalene and Canonization, Bangalore Theological Forum, Volume 38, 2006. [11]
  17. ^ Joseph Oomen, The Concept of Trinity and Its Implication for Christian Communication in Indian Context. Religion Online. Internet, accessed 21 September 2009. [12]
  18. ^ K. V. Mathew, Religions of the Fertile Crescent and the Sanatana Dharma, Indian Journal of Theology, Volume 104, 1959.[13]
  19. ^ K. V. Mathew in K. M. Tharakan (Edited) Triune God: Love, Justice, Peace, Published by Youth Movement of Indian Orthodox Church, Mavelikkara, 1989. p. 72. Cited by Joseph Oomen in The Concept of Trinity and Its Implication for Christian Communication in Indian Context. [14]
  20. ^ K. V. Mathew, The Hermeneutical Struggle in India, The NCCI Review, Volume 101, Nagpur, 1981.[15]
  21. ^ K. V. Mathew, Indigenisation: An Old Testament Perspective in papers submitted to the XIIth Conference of the Society for Biblical Studies on the theme "Diakonia and Leadership Patterns", held at De Nobili College, Pune from 29 December 1982 to 1 January 1983. [16]
  22. ^ K. V. Mathew, The faith and practice of the Mar Thoma Church: (prepared for the Triple Jubilee Celebration of Reformation in the Malankara Church), Published by Mar Thoma Theological Seminary, 1985, Kottayam. [17]
  23. ^ K. V. Mathew, Walking humbly with God : A Biography of the Rev. C. E. Abraham, Kottayam, 1986. Cited by Brian Stanley in The history of the Baptist Missionary Society, 1792-1992, T&T Clark, 1992.[18]
  24. ^ K. V. Mathew in Bible Bhashyam, 1993, pp.159–68. Cited by David M. Howard, Jr. in Recent Trends in Psalms Study, 1999. [19]
  25. ^ a b c K. V. Mathew, Crisis and Hope in Israel's Exile, A paper presented at the XVIIth Conference of the SBSI held in Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, 1998. Cited in Indian Theological Studies, Volume 35, 1998. [20]
  26. ^ K. V. Mathew, Dr. M. M. Thomas - A Grateful Memory, NCCI Review, Volume 117, Nagpur, 1997. [21]
  27. ^ G. W. Anderson (Edited), Tradition and Interpretation - Essays by Members of the Society for Old Testament Study, Oxford, December 1979. [22]
  28. ^ N. W. Porteous, Living Issues in Biblical Scholarship - Prophet and Priest in Israel, The Expository Times, Vol. 62, No. 1, 4-9 (1950).[23]
  29. ^ Edward Ball (Edited), In search of true wisdom: Essays in Old Testament interpretation in honour of Ronald E. Clements ( Volume 300 of Journal for the study of the Old Testament), Published by Continuum International Publishing Group, 1999. [24]
Further reading

External links[edit]