Prof. Dr. Karl P. Donfried (In Memoriam)

Professor Emeritus of Religion and Biblical Literature, Smith College USA


Karl P. Donfried was born and raised in New York City and educated at Trinity School, before receiving his B.A. Degree from Columbia College, his M. Div. degree from Harvard Divinity School ad his S.T.M. from Union Theological Seminary in New York. He obtained his PhD in Theology at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

He was first appointed to the faculty of Smith College in 1968 and served as the Elizabeth A. Woodson Professor of Religion and Biblical Literature until 2005. He has also served as visiting professor at Amherst College, Brown, Yale, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome, as well as universities in Berlin, Geneva and Hamburg.

Professor Donfried, an internationally recognized New Testament scholar, has written widely for journals and included among the several books that he has authored or edited are: 1 Timothy Reconsidered (2008), Who Owns the Bible? Toward the Recovery of a Christian Hermeneutic (2006), Paul, Thessalonica and Early Christianity (2002), The Thessalonians Debate: Methodological Discord or Methodological Synthesis? (2000), Judaism and Christianity in Rome in the First Century (1998), The Theology of the Shorter Pauline Letters (1993), The Romans Debate: Expanded and Revised Edition (2001), The Dynamic Word: New Testament Insights for Contemporary Christians (1981), Mary in the New Testament (1978), The Romans Debate (1977), The Setting of Second Clement in Early Christianity (1974), Peter in the New Testament (1973).

In 1977, Canon Donfried was elected by the Episcopal Bishop of Western Massachusetts to serve as Ecumenical Canon of the Cathedral in 1977, a position that Canon Donfried continues to hold.

Professor Donfried's current research projects continue to center around 1 Thessalonians as well as Paul chronology and theology. Of particular interest is the relationship of Paul to the Judaisms of the Second Temple Period. Specific emphasis is given to the Dead Sea Scrolls and the role they play for a new understanding of both Judaism and Christianity, and their interaction with each other, in this period.

“Religion and Cultural Diplomacy”

A Lecture by ICD Director of Studies, Prof. Dr. Karl Donfried