Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Jaroslav Pelikan: Memory Eternal!

The great historian and theologian Jaroslav Pelikan fell asleep in the Lord this past Saturday. He was 82. Along with Dr. Arnold Airhart's passing earlier this month (a childhood theological hero of mine), this seems to mark the end of an era somehow... the loss of a certain generation of scholars. Somehow during my student years I had acquired the first two volumes of his five-volume opus The Christian Tradition. I remember being so moved by his subtlety and depth. The second volume, The Spirit of Eastern Christendom, was particularly meaningful to me. My friend David was a friend of Prof. Pelikan's, and invited him to be the honourary curator of his exhibition Anno Domini. David told me this story about Prof. Pelikan. Apparently in his early years teaching, he used to spend a lot of time with students, investing in them personally and caring about their ideas and academic musings. Most good professors if you came to them with a great idea would say, "you should read this book on that topic!" But Pelikan would take it a step further, often responding, "That's a brilliant idea, you should write a book about that!" And the student's heart would almost break with joy at having such an affirmation. Jaroslav Pelikan - a son of the Church, a servant of God. Memory Eternal!

"Shine, shine O new Jerusalem! The glory of the Lord has shone upon you!"

8 Comments:

Blogger Mimi said...

While I am sadly a Pelikan flunky, having never been able to get through one of his books, his writings have been greatly influential on a lot of people I know, and his love for God shines through.

May his Memory be Eternal.

11:23 AM  
Blogger pasivirta said...

memory eternal!

12:17 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Prof. Pelikan also recently wrote an theological commentary on Acts, which I'm hoping to read this summer. I'm told it is full of his erudition and care. I love how the Paschal and Pentecostal Sunday epistles are all from Acts, makes for strong "ecclesiogical preaching" during these days.

12:27 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

thanks so much for this post! memory eternal!

3:09 PM  
Blogger Mshoreret said...

Mr. Pelikan really did spend a lot of time with his students and believed in them, like a father bird (Pelican! his symbol) helping his fledglings out of the nest.

I was one of those lucky students: I studied with him as an undergrad and got asked to check all the citations in vol. III of his 5-volume magnum opus. (I actually got a little mention in the preface, my one claim to fame...)

Anyway, when he inscribed my copy on the flyleaf, he wrote, "In gratitude (and hope you may reciprocate someday)."

He was forever gracious and joyful in his learned pursuits. Not just a great scholar - a wonderful human being. He'll be deeply missed.

See my modest blog (Still Life With Coffee Spoons,another Eliot fan here) for my own appreciation.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Thanks for dropping by Ms. Horeret, it's an honour to have you. I'll check out "Still Life with Coffee Spoons."

5:09 AM  
Blogger Sheri Eyre said...

a great teacher does not merely display his genius but reveals the genius of others. The scultper revealing the form in the stone.
Where I got that from I don't know- but I like it . Our job in life is to attempt to see the genius in others rahter than attempting to display our own greatness - imrov taught me that it is much better to make your partner look good onstage- more people will want to play with you

7:31 PM  
Blogger urbanmonk said...

Matthew,
I just found your blog after you commented on the emergentnazarene site. Anyway, I am a proud graduate of Pelikans 5 volume school thanks to Paul Bassett at Nazarene Seminary.

Peace Dude,
Brian

8:59 AM  

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