On Wednesday, December 9, 2009, Professor Calvin Roetzel, Sundet Chair in New Testament and Christian Studies, gave his final classroom lecture as a university professor culminating a long career as an internationally recognized New Testament and Pauline scholar.
Professor Calvin Roetzel: Final Classroom Lecture
On Wednesday, December 9, 2009, Professor Calvin Roetzel, Sundet Chair in New Testament and Christian Studies, gave his final classroom lecture as a university professor culminating a long career as an internationally recognized New Testament and Pauline scholar. Students and colleagues, former and current, gathered alongside members of the community to honor Professor Roetzel as he shared how his thoughts on the figure of Paul have changed over the course of his 42 year teaching career.
Cameron Ferguson, current graduate student in Classical and Near Eastern Studies, Religions in Antiquity, and an advisee of Professor Roetzel, shares his appreciation for the lecture, Professor Roetzel's career, and his impact as a teacher and mentor:
It is difficult to lay adequate value or meaning upon Professor Calvin Roetzel's final classroom lecture as a University of Minnesota employee, and quite likely his final lecture under the full time employ of any university. Roetzel taught for over 40 years and established himself as one of the top New Testament and Pauline scholars in the world. His introductory textbook on Paul--The Letters of Paul: Conversations in Context--has become the definitive manual used by instructors throughout the country for introducing their students to the itinerant apostle.
Professor Roetzel's final lecture focused on how his views on Paul have changed over the course of his distinguished career. For example, he discussed Paul as an organic intellectual. Paul's perceptions on community, theology, teaching, and law--these are not static entities. They are changed and adapted as Paul is confronted with new circumstances and challenges. Perhaps more importantly, Roetzel discussed at length Paul's revolutionary rethinking of the crucifixion, an image intended to provoke fear and revulsion in the minds of the ancients. For Paul the cross became a symbol of strength and suffering, a mark of discipleship.
Many thanks to Roetzel's colleagues from the University of Minnesota, Macalester College, and the greater community who attended the lecture and the stories and experiences shared at the following reception. Special thanks to Ann Lewis for her wonderful presence in class and her amazing introduction; Professor Douglas Olson, who helped convince Roetzel to shirk his (second) retirement and teach at the University of Minnesota in the first place; and Professor Bernard Levinson and the religious studies staff for donating time and resources to the occasion. Finally, a very special thanks to Professor Jeanne Kilde, Director of the Program in Religious Studies, for her role in organizing the event.