Elizabeth Achtemeier, noted Bible professor, dies after illness
The Layman Online, October 28, 2002
Dr. Elizabeth R. Achtemeier, 76, one of the leading evangelical voices in the Presbyterian Church (USA), died Oct. 25 after a long illness.
Achtemeier, retired adjunct professor of Bible and homiletics at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va., was a leading force for renewal in the denomination and had been serving as a member of the Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity and Purity until her illness required her to step down from that assignment.
Her son, Dr. Mark Achtemeier, who teaches systematic theology at Dubuque Theological Seminary in Iowa, was appointed to succeed her on the task force. He was attending the group’s meeting in Louisville when he received notice of her death.
Born in Bartlesville, Okla., in 1926, Achtemeier was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford University and received her theological education at Union Theological Seminary in New York. She did post-graduate work at Heidelberg University in Germany and Basel University in Switzerland before earning the doctor of philosophy degree in Old Testament from Columbia University in 1959.
A nationally known preacher and ordained Presbyterian minister, Achtemeier was a member of the faculty at Union from 1973-96. Her husband of 50 years, Paul J. Achtemeier, also served on the faculty as professor of New Testament.
Elizabeth Achtemeier also served as a visiting professor at Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and Duke Divinity School. From 1959-73, she taught Old Testament theology at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania.
She was the author of 20 books, including The Old Testament Roots of Our Faith, with her husband. Other titles include Nature, God, and Pulpit, Preaching from the Old Testament; The Committed Marriage; and Preaching About Family Relationships.
She was a frequent contributor to Biblical dictionaries, scholarly journals and various church publications. Known throughout the United States and Canada as an outstanding preacher, lecturer and scholar, she was invited to speak to congregations, church conferences and various universities, including Harvard, Princeton, Duke, Yale, Smith and Wellesley.
Achtemeier is survived by her husband, Paul J. Achtemeier, professor emeritus of Biblical Interpretation at Union-PSCE, two children and five grandchildren. Her daughter, Marie Finch, is an attorney.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Details will follow.