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Ahern, Barnabas Mary


Passionist priest, Old Testament scholar and writer; b. Chicago, IL, Feb. 18, 1915; d. Chicago, IL, Jan. 9, 1995. Barnabas Mary Ahern entered the Passionist Preparatory Seminary at Normandy, Missouri, in 1928, was clothed as a novice in Louisville in 1932, and simply professed in 1933. Following his ordination to the priesthood on June 7, 1941, he pursued further theological, biblical, and Semitic studies at the Catholic University of America, where he received the S.T.L. (1942); at the École Biblique in Jerusalem (194748); and at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome (195658). He received his S.S.D. from the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

Ahern taught scripture in Chicago 19431947, again from 1948 to 1956, and in Louisville 19591962. From 1962 to 1966, he was called to Rome to serve as peritus at Vatican II. He taught again in the United States from 1965 to 1970 (St. Meinrad's and the Catholic Theological Union). Ahern then returned to Rome, where he was involved with various congregations and commissions, and taught at both the Gregorian University and the Regina Mundi Institute. Poor health resulted in his returning to the U.S. in 1978, until he was able to travel to Africa to teach in Kenya from 1984 to 1989.

Among other scholarly activities, Ahern was involved in work on the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine's translation of the scriptures (later known as the New American Bible). He was president of the Catholic Biblical Association of America (196465), a member of both the Pontifical Biblical Commission (196975) and the International Theological Commission (197085). In addition to his scholarly contributions, Ahern is equally known for his work in publications such as the commentary series The New Testament Reading Guide, of which he became editor in 1960, and the periodical The Bible Today, which he edited from 1962 to 1975.

Bibliography: A bibliography of Ahern's publications, listing 12 books and 69 articles, can be found in A Voice Crying out in the Desert: Preparing for Vatican II with Barnabas M. Ahern, C.P., ed. c. stuhlmueller and s. macdonald (Collegeville 1996).

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