MDC mourns the loss of Dr. Richard N. Longenecker (July 21, 1930-June 7, 2021), who served as Distinguished Professor of New Testament at McMaster Divinity College from 1994 to 2001. Dr. Longenecker was well-known for his gracious personal warmth in the classroom while also holding both himself and his students to rigorous intellectual standards in their study.
Dr. Richard N. Longenecker, Distinguished Professor of New Testament (1994)
Dr. Richard N. Longenecker earned his PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 1959, which resulted in the publication of his first book, Paul Apostle of Liberty (1964). He held positions at Wheaton College and Graduate School (1954-57; 1960-63); Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (1963-72); Wycliffe College (Toronto, 1972-94, from which he received an honorary doctorate in 1996); University of St. Michael’s College (Toronto, 1976-78); and McMaster Divinity College (Hamilton, 1994-2001).
His faculty appointment at McMaster Divinity College saw him teaching 6 courses per year, including Introduction to the New Testament, New Testament Theology, and electives in the epistles and theological specialties. His areas of interest were wide-ranging, from early Jewish Christianity, the Gospels, Jewish Apocalyptic literature, hermeneutics, social ethics, and above all, the letters and theology of St. Paul. One of his particular contributions to MDC was as the host to the inaugural Bingham Colloquium in New Testament, gathering world-renowned scholars annually to debate New Testament perspectives on such foundational issues as discipleship, prayer, ministry, conversion, and the teaching and person of Jesus. He prioritized his teaching over the years, and took great pride in his work with graduate students, many of whom have gone on to lead lives of significance in the academy and the church.
At the time of his appointment, he was also the Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee of the NIV Bible Translation. Academically, he wrote seven monographs, two major commentaries, and about fifty articles — also editing or co-editing eight books. In Paul Apostle of Liberty he took positions that would only later become mainstream in academic scholarship. Other important books include his commentary on Galatians (1990), Introducing Romans (2011) and his commentary on Romans (2016).
Here at MDC, our faculty members have fond memories of studying alongside Dr. Longenecker, through taking one of his courses or doctoral work. We honour Dr. Richard Longenecker’s contribution to the life of McMaster Divinity College, among the many other Christian institutions he served throughout his lifetime, and the legacy he leaves behind in those who had the opportunity to learn from him.
From The McMaster Letter (2001) “McMaster’s Loss is Bethel’s Gain: Professor Longenecker departs for St. Paul”