Marcus Borg

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Marcus Borg
Marcus Borg speaking in Mansfield College chapel.JPG
Borg speaking in Mansfield College chapel
Marcus Joel Borg

(1942-03-11)March 11, 1942
DiedJanuary 21, 2015(2015-01-21) (aged 72)
SpouseMarianne Wells Borg
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisConflict as a Context for Interpreting the Teaching of Jesus[1] (1972)
Doctoral advisorG. B. Caird[2]
InfluencesW. D. Davies
Academic work
Sub-disciplineNew Testament studies
School or tradition
InstitutionsOregon State University

Marcus Joel Borg[3] (March 11, 1942 – January 21, 2015) was an American New Testament scholar and theologian.[4] He was among the most widely known and influential voices in Liberal Christianity. As a fellow of the Jesus Seminar, Borg was a major figure in historical Jesus scholarship.[5] He retired as Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University in 2007. He died eight years later at the age of 72, of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis at his home in Powell Butte, Oregon.[6][7][8]

Early life and education[edit]

Borg was born March 11, 1942, in Fergus Falls, Minnesota,[9] and raised in a Lutheran family in North Dakota. After high school he attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where he double-majored in political science and philosophy. Though plagued by doubt as a young adult, after his undergraduate studies Borg accepted a Rockefeller Brothers Theological Fellowship to study at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where he became familiarized with liberal theology. A profound influence on Borg during his seminary years was the theologian W. D. Davies. After his studies at Union, he matriculated at Mansfield College, Oxford, where he earned both his Master of Theology and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.[10]


Borg taught at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, from 1966 to 1969 and 1972 to 1974; South Dakota State University in Brookings from 1975 to 1976; and Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, from 1976 to 1979. He was a faculty member at Oregon State University from 1979 until his retirement in 2007 as Distinguished Professor in Religion and Culture and the Hundere Endowed Chair in Religious Studies.[11] Borg was appointed Chair of the Religious Studies Department in January 1988. The Religious Studies Department was closed at the end of the 1991–1992 academic year and Borg became a faculty member in the Philosophy Department.[12] During his time at Oregon State he organized and led two nationally televised symposia, one in 1996 (Jesus at 2000), and another in 2000 (God at 2000). Borg also served as Visiting Professor of New Testament at the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley (1989–1991) and the Chism Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington (1986–1987).[13]

Borg served as national chair of the Historical Jesus Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, co-chair of its International New Testament Program Committee and president of the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars.[14] On May 31, 2009, he was installed as the first canon theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.[15]

Borg frequently collaborated with his friend John Dominic Crossan.[16] He was a friend of N. T. Wright since their days together at Oxford, despite having theological differences. The two discussed those differences in their book The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (1999, rev. 2007).[17][18] Borg was often featured in programs on networks such as PBS, NPR and National Geographic, and appeared on ABC World News and The Today Show.[19] In 2001, he debated William Lane Craig over the resurrection of Jesus.[20] Borg also debated New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg and evangelical apologist James White on topics such as the historical reliability of the gospels and the historical Jesus.

Borg died on January 21, 2015, in Powell Butte, Oregon.



Edited by[edit]



  1. ^ Borg, Marcus J. (1972). Conflict as a Context for Interpreting the Teaching of Jesus (DPhil dissertation). Oxford: University of Oxford. OCLC 43405002.
  2. ^ Alker, Adrian (February 6, 2015). "Professor Marcus Borg". Church Times. London: Hymns Ancient and Modern. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  3. ^ Ruby, Mary, ed. (2012). "Marcus J. Borg". Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. Vol. 237. Detroit, Michigan: Gale. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-4144-8172-2. ISSN 0275-7176.
  4. ^ Haught, Nancy: "Belief and meaning: His faith in Jesus doesn't deter Marcus Borg from asking difficult questions about divinity", The Oregonian, 24 March 2007.
  5. ^ Marcus Borg. Explore Faith. Accessed January 21, 2008.
  6. ^ "Marcus Borg, leading liberal theologian and historical Jesus expert, dies at 72". Religion News Service. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  7. ^ "HarperOne Mourns the Passing of Beloved Bestselling Author Marcus Borg". Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  8. ^ Marcus Borg, Liberal Scholar on Historical Jesus, Dies at 72 - The New York Times Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  9. ^ " Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series".
  10. ^ "Marcus J. Borg". Westar Institute. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  11. ^ " Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series".
  12. ^ "Guide to the Marcus J. Borg Papers 1969–2000". Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.
  13. ^ "Marcus J. Borg". Westar Institute. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  14. ^ "Marcus J. Borg". Westar Institute. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  15. ^ Oregon: Marcus Borg named canon theologian at Trinity Cathedral in Portland Archived August 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Diocesan Digest Episcopal Life Online. Accessed September 26, 2009.
  16. ^ Multiple sources:
  17. ^ Meaning of Jesus, The: Marcus J. Borg, N. T. Wright: 9780061285547: Books. ISBN 0061285544.
  18. ^ "N. T. Wright & Marcus Borg — Idolatry". Christian Conversations Now. Archived from the original on October 10, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  19. ^ "About Us". Archived from the original on October 4, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  20. ^ Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? on YouTube Debate with William Lane Craig

External links[edit]