William Hamilton (theologian)

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William Hughes Hamilton
Born(1924-03-09)March 9, 1924
DiedFebruary 28, 2012(2012-02-28) (aged 87)
Notable work
Radical Theology and the Death of God (1966)
Spouse(s)Mary Jean (Golden) Hamilton. (1925-2016)
Children5: Ross, Donald, Catherine, Patrick, Jean
Theological work

William Hughes Hamilton III (March 9, 1924 – February 28, 2012) was a theologian and proponent of the Death of God/Is God Dead? movement. Hamilton died in 2012 at age 87 in Portland, Oregon.[1]

Education and career[edit]

Hamilton was born March 9, 1924 to William Hughes Hamilton II and Helen (Anderson) Hamilton. in Evanston, Illinois.[2] In 1943 Hamilton graduated from Oberlin College. He served in the United States Navy during World War II, then earned a master's degree from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York in 1949. In 1952 Hamilton received a doctorate in theology from the University of St Andrews in Scotland.[1]

Hamilton and fellow theologian Thomas J. J. Altizer co-authored the book Radical Theology and the Death of God (1966). Time magazine published the article "Is God Dead?" that same year.[2] In 1953 Hamilton joined the faculty at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School until he lost his endowed chair in 1967. He then taught religion at New College in Sarasota, Florida before becoming a faculty member at Portland State University in 1970.[1] There he served as dean of arts and letters until his retirement in 1986.[2]

In 1949 Hamilton married a dancer from the New York City Ballet Mary Jean (Golden). They had 5 children: Ross, Donald, Catherine, Patrick and Jean. Hamilton died of complications from congestive heart failure in his home on February 28, 2012 at age 87 in Portland, Oregon.[2] He was survived by his wife Mary Jean and five children.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Haught, Nancy (February 29, 2012). "William Hamilton, God-is-dead theologian, dies in Portland at 87". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications. ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "William Hamilton dies at 87; theologian questioned God's existence". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. March 3, 2012. ISSN 0458-3035. OCLC 3638237. Retrieved March 8, 2012.

External links[edit]