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Biblical Archaeology Review 46:5, Winter 2020

Strata: Milestones: James D.G. Dunn: Influential New Testament Scholar

By James F. McGrath

James D.G. Dunn, Emeritus Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham University in England, world-renowned New Testament scholar, prolific author, and “Jimmy” to his friends, died on June 26, 2020, at the age of 80.

After studying at the University of Glasgow (first economics and statistics and then earning his Bachelor of Divinity), Dunn earned his Ph.D. in 1968 from the University of Cambridge, where C.F.D. (aka “Charlie”) Moule supervised him. He was also subsequently awarded a Doctor of Divinity from the University of Cambridge.

In 1964, he was licensed as a minister by the Church of Scotland. From 1968 to 1970, he served as the chaplain to overseas students at Edinburgh University. Although raised Presbyterian, he and his wife made a point of attending a church near where they lived, and as a result he was involved in Church of Scotland, Baptist, Methodist, and Anglican congregations.

Dunn began his academic teaching career at the University of Nottingham, where he became Lecturer in Theology in 1970, being promoted to Reader in Theology in 1979. He remained there until 1982 when he was appointed Professor of Divinity at Durham University. In 1990, he was appointed to the prestigious chair of Lightfoot Professor of Divinity, where he remained until his retirement and the awarding of emeritus status in 2003. He was active in Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (SNTS), including a stint as president. In 2006, Dunn was also elected a Fellow of the British Academy.

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