The Very Reverend Dr. John Behr

Job Title: 

Visiting Professor, Historical Theology

First Name: 

John

Last Name: 

Behr

Education: 

B.A., Thames Polytechnic M.Phil., Oxford University D.Phil., Oxford University M.Th., St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary

Bio: 

Father John Behr is Professor of Patristics, teaching courses in patristics, dogmatics and scriptural exegesis at the seminary, and also at Fordham University, where he is the Distinguished Lecturer in Patristics.

Father John hails from England, though his family background is Russian and German - and clerical on both sides. From the Russian side, his great-grandfather was sent to London by Metropolian Evlogy to serve there as a priest in 1926; his father was also a priest, ordained by Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom), as are his brother (at St. Paul’s Monastery on Mt. Athos) and his brother-in-law (Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Terryville, CT). His maternal grandparents met at Karl Barth’s graduate seminar in Basel, and served in the Lutheran Church in Germany, where his grandfather was a Lutheran pastor.

After completing his first degree in Philosophy in London in 1987, Fr. John spent a year studying in Greece. He finished an M.Phil. in Eastern Christian Studies at Oxford University, under Bishop Kallistos (Ware), who subsequently supervised his doctoral work, which was examined by Fr. Andrew Louth and Rowan Williams, now Archbishop of Canterbury. While working on his doctorate, he was invited to be a Visiting Lecturer at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in 1993, where he has been a permanent faculty member since 1995, tenured in 2000, and ordained in 2001. Before becoming Dean in 2007, he served as the editor of St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, and he still edits the Popular Patristics Series for SVS Press.

His early work was on issues of asceticism and anthropology, focusing on St. Irenaeus of Lyons and Clement of Alexandria. After spending almost a decade in the second century, Fr. John began the publication of a series on the Formation of Christian Theology, and has now reached the fifth and sixth centuries. He has recently completed an edition and translation of, and introduction to, the remaining texts of Diodore of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia. He has also published a synthetic presentation of the theology of the early centuries, focused on the mystery of Christ.

His other passion is cycling, especially restoring and riding vintage bicycles including a historic Hetchins. The Tour de France dominates the Behr family life during July, dictating the scheduling of important family events. Father John’s wife, a Tour de France enthusiast and armchair cyclist, teaches English at a nearby college, and their two sons and daughter are being taught to appreciate the finer points of French culture: the great “constructeurs” of the last century, Le Grande Boucle, and ... cheese.

 

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