October 16, 2018
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BURTON H. THROCKMORTON JR.

Contributed | BDN
Contributed | BDN

BANGOR – Burton H. Throckmorton Jr., New Testament scholar, author and teacher, died Jan. 3, 2009, at a Bangor health care facility. He was born Feb. 21, 1921, in Elizabeth, N.J., the son of Burton Hamilton Throckmorton and Harriet Barrows Throckmorton. Dr. Throckmorton taught the New Testament for more than six decades and was recognized by thousands of students as a brilliant teacher who inspired both sound learning and genuine passion for the Gospel itself. He was the Hayes Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Bangor Theological Seminary from 1954 to 1989. He continued to be a visiting lecturer there and in the Honors Program at the University of Maine until 2001. Before coming to Bangor in 1954, he taught at Union Theological Seminary, New York; Columbia University, New York University, Drew Theological Seminary, Princeton University, Wellesley College and the Kirchliche Hochschule, Berlin, Germany. He lectured at Chicago Theological Seminary, Cambridge University and Protestant Theological Seminary, Neuchatel, Switzerland. Professor Throckmorton studied at the Juilliard School of Music, New York, received his Bachelor of Art degree from the University of Virginia in 1943, his Bachelor of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, New York, in 1945 and his doctor of philosophy from Columbia University in 1952. He also studied at the University of Marburg, Germany. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, USA, he also held ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ. He was the author of numerous books, articles in scholarly journals, study guides and book reviews. Among these is, “Gospel Parallels,” first published in 1949 and most recently published in its fifth edition in 1993. This book has been used as a text in most theological schools throughout the country for 60 years. He also published “The New Testament and Mythology” (1952, The Westminster Press); “Romans for the Layman” (1961, The Seabury Press), which was reprinted under the title “Adopted Love” (1978) and translated into German in 1968; a widely circulated pamphlet “The Bible and the Church” (1989); and “Jesus Christ, The Message of the Gospels, The Hope of the Church” (1989, Westminster John Knox Press). In a review of this book, Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, formerly president and currently a professor at Chicago Theological Seminary, said of Professor Throckmorton: “Passion, incredible erudition and above all the depth of faith cultivated by a life in and for the church: that is Burton Throckmorton.” The last decades of Burton Throckmorton’s scholarly work were devoted to the translation of scripture into inclusive language – language that is sensitive to gender, racial and ethnic sensibilities. The result of this work, done with other scholars committed to this enterprise, was the publication of “Inclusive Language Psalms” (Pilgrim Press, 1987); “An Inclusive Language Lectionary” (three volumes published and revised from 1983 to 1988 by John Knox Press, Pilgrim Press and Westminster Press); and finally “The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version” (1995, Oxford University Press). These volumes were groundbreaking even as they shed new light on the original texts of the Old and New Testaments. The public interest in these publications led, in the 1980s and 1990s, to his appearance on “CBS This Morning” and “The Phil Donahue Show,” as well as on a number of national radio programs and in newspapers throughout the world. From 1932 to 1934 he appeared on Broadway in a tap dance routine with his sister, Joan in the review “Sunday Nights at Nine,” which starred Shirley Booth and Van Heflin. He is survived by his wife, Ansley Coe Throckmorton; his son, Hamilton Coe Throckmorton and his wife, Mary Senechal, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio; his son, Timothy Barrows Throckmorton of Bangor; and by his four grandchildren, Alexander Senechal Throckmorton, Taylor Senechal Throckmorton, Hillary Ellis Throckmorton and Ellis Coe Throckmorton. He is also survived by a sister, Patricia H. Throckmorton of Calabash, N.C. Funeral arrangements will be announced a later date.


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