Princeton Theological Seminary honors the deep and lasting contributions made to our community by professors who recently retired. Please join us in thanking and celebrating these faculty in their retirements!
George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature
James H. Charlesworth has an international reputation as a leading New Testament scholar on early Judaism and the New Testament. He taught here for 34 years, during which time he established the Fulbright Scholars Committee, and Princeton Seminary is now heralded as one of the top producers of Fulbright scholars. He is an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church and serves on the International Committee of Methodists and Greek Orthodox. He directs the Seminary’s Dead Sea Scrolls Project, where he collaborates with more than 70 international specialists to make available accurate texts and English translations of all the nonbiblical Qumran Scrolls.
He has published 75 books, edited over 160 books, and written over 500 articles. He has excavated in many sites in the Holy Land, including Nazareth, Bethsaida, Khirbet Beza, and Migdal.
"Although I have been Jim's colleague of late, I was originally his PhD student at Duke,” says Dale Allison, Richard J. Dearborn Professor of New Testament. “The first class I had with him there may have been the most important class I ever took.”
“He enthusiastically introduced us to the so-called Pseudepigrapha—about 50 texts I had never studied before. The outcome was a lifelong love of that literature as well as fascination regarding the Jews who produced it. For all this I owe him a great debt," Allison recalled.
Gordon Graham was director of the Center for the Study of Scottish Philosophy during his 12 years at the Seminary and the Henry Luce III Professor of Philosophy and the Arts.
“Gordon Graham was a philosopher and a priest; a rare combination, a wonderful calling in two modes,” says John Bowlin, Robert L. Stuart Professor of Philosophy and Christian Ethics, “He loved philosophical debate, seeking wisdom thorough the give and take of reasons. And he loved the church, seeking God through preaching, prayer, and sacrament.”
An ordained priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, Graham has since moved back to Scotland where he now serves in the Diocese of Edinburgh. Graham’s areas of academic interest include aesthetics, moral philosophy, philosophy of religion, and the Scottish philosophical tradition and he’s taught music and written several hymn and anthem texts.
“He and I disagreed about many matters of importance in political theory and ethics,” Bowlin says. “Our instincts were different. Mine are formed by Aquinas and Hegel, his by Kant, Hume, and Nietzsche. We argued often and vigorously but always without rancor or ill will. When the argument concluded, our friendship remained. I am forever grateful for that.”
Graham is director of the Edinburgh Sacred Arts Foundation, editor of the Journal of Scottish Philosophy and a founding editor of the Kuyper Center Review.
Charlotte W. Newcombe Professor of Pastoral Theology
Deborah van Deusen Hunsinger focused her teachings on educating clergy and laypeople to offer theologically sound, psychologically informed, and contextually relevant pastoral care in the church.
“Professor Hunsinger is known and beloved by students for the sensitive and personal ways she takes into account the uniqueness of their lives both in and out of the classroom,” says Robert Dykstra, Charlotte W. Newcombe Professor of Pastoral Theology. “Students flock to her courses for this personalized and exacting process of self-exploration in relation to the world around them and to God.”
Hunsinger, an ordained Presbyterian minister, taught for 24 years at the Seminary.
“Professor Hunsinger stands out among pastoral theologians, who over the course of development of the modern discipline have emphasized human experience as a major source of one’s knowledge of God, in her insisting on the distinctive power and otherness of God and on God’s initiative of self-revelation to us in Christ,” he says. “She draws on Barth’s theology in this, who in his context during the rise of Hitler stood against easy alignment of church and culture or of church and human imagination. This understanding of God’s own freedom and initiative has been a consistent thread in Deborah’s teaching and writing and serves as a sobering corrective today, as many churches in our midst align with political doctrines that sow division and promote exclusion of the other.”
Joe R. Engle Professor of Homiletics and Liturgics Emeritus
James Kay, dean and vice president of academic affairs, specialized in the history, theology, and practice of preaching and worship during his 30 years at Princeton Seminary. An ordained Presbyterian minister, his courses covered worship in the Reformed tradition, theology and proclamation, and homiletical theory.
“Dean Jim Kay served Princeton Seminary as a builder of bridges,” says Dennis Olson, Charles Haley Professor of Old Testament Theology. “He crafted an interdisciplinary bridge between his PhD in systematic theology and his professorship in homiletics. As an academic dean, he worked hard to hammer together bridges of cooperation between the faculty and the administrations of two Seminary presidents. As a theologian and preacher, his compelling proclamations of the Word spanned a profound hope in God’s promised future and a deep wrestling with the sufferings of our present world.”
Ralph B. and Helen S. Ashenfelter Professor of Mission and Evangelism Emeritus
Richard Osmer’s courses covered educational psychology and practical theology, children’s literature in Christian moral education, confirmation and catechism, and the social functions of religion, ethics, and education in theories of modernity and post modernity. Princeton Seminary faculty for 28 years and an ordained Presbyterian minister known for his expertise as a practical theologian, Osmer chairs the Committee to Write New Catechisms for the PC (USA).
“Rick is a first-rate practical theologian who has made several significant contributions to the field,” says Gordon Mikoski, associate professor of Christian education. He reflects on the impact of Osmer’s co-founding of the International Academy of Practical Theology, how popular his classes were with Seminary students, and how he grew as a practical theologian during their various collaborations and joint writing.
“Working with Rick always entails drawing creatively from tradition and multiple perspectives in theology and social science in order to address pressing contemporary problems in church and society,” Mikoski says.
“One of the biggest lessons I learned was how to be charitable to views other than my own. Christian charity was shown to me, not just in the readings for class, but from the professors, and the Seminary community.”