Adela Yarbro Collins honored with Festschrift

By Whitney Waller ’13 M.Div.

The Yale Divinity School community gathered on Nov. 15 to celebrate a long and distinguished career in New Testament scholarship when colleagues, former students, and friends of Professor Adela Yarbro Collins gathered to honor her work spanning more than three decades.

CollinsThe occasion was the presentation of a Festschrift of more than 500 pages written by scholars across a range of disciplines who have been inspired by the work of Collins, the Buckingham Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation at YDS.

The volume, entitled Women and Gender in Ancient Religions; Interdisciplinary Approaches, was edited by three scholars who did their Ph.D. dissertations under the direction of Collins while she was teaching at the University of Chicago. Two of those scholars were present at the Festschrift celebration—Stephen P. Ahearne-Kroll, associate professor of New Testament at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio, and Paul A. Holloway, associate professor of New Testament at the School of Theology of The University of the South.

“The honor is well deserved, and it is a fitting tribute to the scholarly contributions that Adela has made to the discipline of b iblical s tudies and to the world of theological education,” YDS Dean Attridge said in opening remarks in the Common Room.  

Ahearne-Kroll explained to the audience that the book is a follow-up to a March 2009 conference that he and others organized in honor of Collins on the campus of the Methodist Theological School in Ohio at Columbus.  The conference was entitled Women in the Religious and the Intellectual Activity of the Ancient Mediterranean World: An Interdisciplinary and International Conference in Honor of Adela Yarbro Collins. Some of the papers read there are now contained in the Festschrift volume

In his introduction to the book, Ahearne-Kroll writes, “The editors and contributors hope that this collection of essays adequately reflects the type of scholarship most valued and emulated by Adela Yarbro of only three women presidents of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas.  Inasmuch as Collins’s intellectual impact has reached far beyond that of her original training in New Testament studies, she offers an admirable model of interdisciplinary scholarship to this volume’s editors... “

Twenty-one scholars contributed to the book, representing a wide breadth of religion research and serving as a thoughtful commentary on Collins’s ability to engage in and support research outside her primary field of focus.  Represented are experts in Greek and Roman religions, early Christianity, ancient Judaism, and ancient Christianity.

In closing remarks at the Festschrift celebration, Holloway, directing his remarks to Collins, said, “I hope that you see in this book an expression of our appreciation, of our affection, of our gratitude, and of our respect for you. ”  The applause that followed appeared to be yet another affirmation of the powerful impact Collins has made on students and colleagues.

Collins’s most recent book is a commentary on the Gospel of Mark for the Hermeneia commentary series. Among her other publications are Cosmology and Eschatology in Jewish and Christian Apocalypticism; The Beginning of the Gospel: Probings of Mark in Context; Crisis and Catharsis: The Power of the Apocalypse; The Apocalypse (New Testament Message series); and The Combat Myth in the Book of Revelation. She has served as editor of the Society of Biblical Literature's Monograph Series and on the editorial boards of the Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Biblical Interpretation, and the Catholic Biblical Quarterly. She was a member of the executive committee of the Society of New Testament Studies from 2002 to 2003 and president of the New England Region of the Society of Biblical Literature in 2004-2005.

She was awarded an honorary doctorate in theology by the University of Oslo in Norway in 1994 and a Fellowship for University Teachers by the National Endowment for the Humanities for 1995-96.

Collins joined the Yale Divinity School in 2000 after teaching at the University of Chicago Divinity School for nine years. Prior to that, she was a professor in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame.