Ackroyd, Peter R(unham) 1917-2005

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ACKROYD, Peter R(unham) 1917-2005

OBITUARY NOTICE— See index for CA sketch: Born September 15, 1917, in Harrow, Middlesex, England; died January 23, 2005, in Littleport, Cambridgeshire, England. Minister, religious scholar, educator, and author. Ackroyd was a noted Old Testament scholar and former King's College professor who challenged a number of accepted ideas about biblical prophets. After completing a degree in modern and medieval languages in 1938 at Downing College, Cambridge, he earned an M.A. from Trinity College in 1942 and a Ph.D. in 1945; he also attended the University of London, where he completed a B.D. in 1940 and an M.Th. in 1942. A minister in Essex and then London, England, during the 1940s, he began an academic career by joining the University of Leeds faculty as a lecturer in Old Testament and biblical Hebrew in 1948. From 1952 until 1962, he taught at Cambridge. While at Cambridge, in 1957 he was ordained a deacon in the Church of England and the next year was ordained a priest. Ackroyd was then hired to teach at the University of London, where he was named Samuel Davidson Professor of Old Testament Studies at King's College in 1961 and a fellow in 1969. From 1968 until 1969, he also served as dean of the faculty of theology. He retired in 1982. As a scholar and author, Ackroyd first made waves with his book Exile and Restoration: A Study of Hebrew Thought of the Sixth Century, B.C. (1968). Here he explained his research and ideas about the prophets of the period, who, up until then, were largely written off by Old Testament scholars as minor religious figures. Ackroyd, however, showed that this period of history was a very active and fruitful one for theology at the time. Later, he also forced academics to reassess their notions about the chronicler, about whom he wrote in The Chronicler in His Age (1991). Among his other publications are The People of the Old Testament (1959), Chronicles I and II: Ezra, Nehemiah, Ruth, Jonah, I and II Maccabees (1970), and The Major Prophets: A Commentary on Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel (1983). A leader in academia outside, as well as inside, the classroom, Ackroyd was also a former president of the Society of Old Testament Study, an honorary member of the Society for Biblical Literature, and was a chair of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. His other academic contributions include serving as editor of the "Cambridge Bible Commentary," "Cambridge Commentaries on Writings of the Jewish and Christian World," and the "Oxford Bible" series, translating several important theology texts from the German, and contributing numerous articles to professional journals, encyclopedias, and dictionaries.



Independent (London, England), February 19, 2005, p. 44.

Times (London, England), February 15, 2005, p. 52; February 18, 2005, p. 62.