News Detail
Jesuit Father Joseph Fitzmyer
Noted Biblical Scholar Father Joseph Fitzmyer, SJ, Passes Away

January 2, 2017 — Jesuit Father Joseph Fitzmyer, a leading Catholic biblical scholar, died Dec. 24, 2016, in Philadelphia at age 96.

Fr. Fitzmyer, who was born in Philadelphia in 1920 and was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1951, is well known for his contributions to the Anchor Bible Series and for co-editing “The Jerome Biblical Commentary.”

He earned a doctorate in Semitics from Johns Hopkins University in 1956 and a licentiate in sacred Scripture a year later from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. Fr. Fitzmyer was a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and also served as president of the U.S. Catholic Biblical Association.

An expert in the Aramaic language spoken by Christ and by many first-century Jews and Christians, the priest was noted for his work on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gospel of Luke. He did some of the initial work in the 1950s to prepare a concordance to the scrolls and was one of the first Americans to have direct access to the documents.

Fr. Fitzmyer also worked on the Catholic-Lutheran Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification signed by the two churches in October 1999 after extensive dialogue.

He founded the Institute on Sacred Scripture at Georgetown University, and he taught at a number of schools including the now-closed Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown, the University of Chicago, Fordham University, Boston College and The Catholic University of America.

John Martens, a theology professor at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, described Fr. Fitzmyer to America magazine as "a giant of biblical scholarship. No qualifiers need apply. He was not a giant of Catholic biblical scholarship, not a giant of 20th-century biblical scholarship, just a giant of biblical scholarship."

He said the priest's scholarship "was dedicated to understanding the Bible more thoroughly and completely. He has gone to his well-deserved rest, may he rest in peace, but his scholarship will live on because of his precision and dedication to making the Bible come alive for all who encounter it."

A funeral Mass is planned for Jan. 5 at St. Matthias Church in Bala Cynwyd, just outside Philadelphia, followed by a burial at the Jesuit Center in Wernersville, Pennsylvania. [Sources: AmericaCNS]


Recent News

April 18, 2017 — On April 17, the Jesuits celebrated a private Mass for the descendants of slaves sold by the Society in 1838; Fr. Robert Hussey, SJ, delivered the homily.

April 14, 2017 — The new laundromat in Rome represents the latest gift from the pope to the city’s poor and homeless people.

April 12, 2017 — For Father Timothy Kesicki, SJ, his mother’s Friday evening meals during Lent are among his greatest childhood memories.

April 9, 2017 — Jesuit Juan Ruiz suggests that as we reflect this week upon the suffering that Jesus endured for our sakes, we can ask for the grace to show his mercy to others who hurt us.

April 4, 2017 — For more than 170 years, the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network has invited people across the globe to pray with the bishop of Rome.

March 31, 2017 — The two schools have provided generations of students with a Jesuit education.

March 29, 2017 — Fr. Pilarz has been named the 26th president of the University of Scranton.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 4/17/17

America 4/3/17

America 3/20/17



Loyola Retreat House
Situated on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River, Loyola Retreat House is located 35 miles south of Washington, D.C., in southern Maryland.