Union Mourns Professor Lou Martyn

Dr. James Louis Martyn, Edward Robinson Professor Emeritus of Biblical Theology at Union Theological Seminary, died at home on June 4, 2015 of congestive heart failure. He was 89 and lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His beloved wife of 65 years, Dorothy Watkins Martyn, was with him to the very end.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, June 13 at 11:00 a.m. at Carolina Meadows, 100 Carolina Meadows Drive, Chapel Hill NC 27517.
“Lou” — as he was known to colleagues and students alike — will be remembered first and foremost as one of the preeminent New Testament scholars of his generation, but more importantly as a friend and mentor. He was particularly adept at helping students untie the sort of intellectual knots students are wont to tie themselves in, usually by gently suggesting a return to the text. As Ray Brown wrote for Lou’s Festschrift in 1989, “His basic test is always the text, verse by verse, so that the theory has to fit the text and not vice versa.” I imagine that Lou’s former students, professors around the world, some perhaps emeriti/ae themselves by now, repeat this practical advice to this day.
At Union, Martyn, who joined the faculty in 1959, and Ray Brown, who joined in 1971, worked very much in tandem. Through the 1970s and 1980s they served as senior New Testament faculty, and together defined a generation of New Testament studies. Every NT and Biblical-Studies doctoral student at the Seminary in those decades worked closely


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