Dillenberger, John 1918-2008

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Dillenberger, John 1918-2008


See index for CA sketch: Born July 11, 1918, in St. Louis, MO; died of complications from Parkinson's disease, February 7, 2008, in El Cerrito, CA. Minister, theologian, historian, educator, administrator, author, and editor. Dillenberger's special interests as a scholar and teacher were Protestant Christianity and its history and religious motifs in art. His commitment as an educator and administrator was to find or create a place where all religious doctrines could be studied by people of all religious persuasions. That place was the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, where he taught throughout the mid-1960s and the 1970s. He also served as president of the collection of institutions from 1964 to 1978, and taught there again briefly in 1983 and 1999. During his tenure the school established centers for the study of individual religions, such as Judaism (1970) and Buddhism (1985), in addition to programs devoted to various Christian denominations and religious subspecialties such as black studies and women's studies. A center for Islamic studies was added in 2007. Dillenberger was an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ whose teaching assignments took him from one end of the country to the other. Between 1947 and 1964 he taught at Princeton, Columbia, Harvard, and Drew Universities, as well as at the San Francisco Theological Seminary and the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He was a professor and president of the Hartford Seminary in Connecticut from 1978 to 1983. Dillenberger taught classes in the history of Protestantism and the teachings of Protestant leaders like Martin Luther and John Calvin. He also established a special program at Berkeley for the study of religion in art. Dillengerber's special interests were also reflected in more than a dozen books, including God Hidden and Revealed (1953), Protestant Christianity: Interpreted through Its Development (1954), Contours of Faith (1969), The Visual Arts and Christianity in America (1984), and Images and Relics: Theological Perceptions and Visual Images in Sixteenth-Century Europe (1999). He also edited the writings of Protestant reformers and church leaders.



Dillenberger, John, From Fallow Fields to Hallowed Halls: A Theologian's Journey, Polebridge Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 2004.


Los Angeles Times, February 19, 2008, p. B10.

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Dillenberger, John 1918-2008

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