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Joseph Fitzmyer

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Nationality  American
Denomination  Roman Catholic

Name  Joseph Fitzmyer
Ordination  August 15, 1951
Joseph Fitzmyer wwwsiguemeesdocsautoresfitzmyergjpg
Occupation  Biblical Scholar, Theologian
Alma mater  Loyola University Chicago Catholic University of Leuven Johns Hopkins University Pontifical Biblical Institute
Education  Johns Hopkins University, Loyola University Chicago
People also search for  Raymond E. Brown, Daniel J. Harrington, George S. Glanzman
Books  The Interpretation of Scriptu, Spiritual Exercises Based on, The Letter to Philemon, The One Who Is to Come, A christological catechism

Joseph Augustine Fitzmyer, S.J. (November 4, 1920 – December 24, 2016), was an American Catholic priest of the Society of Jesus and professor emeritus at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.. He specialized in biblical studies, particularly the New Testament, though he also made contributions to the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and early Jewish literature.



Fitzmyer was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1920. On July 30, 1938, he was admitted to the novitiate of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits, in Wernersville, Pennsylvania. After completing this stage of his formation in the summer of 1940, he was sent to study at Loyola University of Chicago, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree, then in 1945 a Master of Arts degree in Greek. He then studied theology in the Facultés Saint-Albert (Eegenhoven-Louvain), Belgium, and was ordained a Catholic priest on August 15, 1951. He was granted a Licentiate of Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) by the Catholic University of Leuven in 1952, a doctorate in Semitics from the Johns Hopkins University in 1956, and a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture (S.S.L.) from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome in 1957.

From 1958–1969, Fitzmyer taught New Testament and biblical languages at Woodstock College. Between 1969 and 1971 he taught Aramaic and Hebrew at the University of Chicago, then New Testament and biblical languages at Fordham University (1971–1974), at Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1974–1976), and finally in the Department of Biblical Studies at The Catholic University of America (1976–1986) as Professor of New Testament until his retirement in 1986. His publications cover Scripture, theology, Christology, catechesis, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. He was a co-editor of the New Jerome Biblical Commentary and also served as president of the Catholic Biblical Association of America (1969–1970), of the Society of Biblical Literature (1979), and of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (1992–1993). Fitzmyer was Speaker's Lecturer at the University of Oxford in 1974–1975, was the 1984 recipient of the Burkitt Medal of the British Academy, and served on the Pontifical Biblical Commission from 1984–1995.

Fitzmyer was a member of the Jesuit community at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. He died on December 24, 2016.


Fitzmyer contributed to several biblical commentaries, including the Jerome Biblical Commentary, the New Jerome Biblical Commentary, and the Anchor Bible Commentary. His contribution to the Anchor Bible Commentary included work on The Gospel of Luke (in two volumes), Acts of the Apostles, 1 Corinthians, Romans and Philemon.

Fitzmyer focused on the New Testament and understanding the writings of St. Paul.

Fitzmyer published three commentaries on Romans: The Jerome Biblical Commentary (1968), The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (1989), and the Anchor Bible Commentary (1993). This last work runs over 800 pages, and from it came a very practical and spiritually accessible work, Spiritual Exercises Based on Paul's Epistle to the Romans. This is a creative endeavor to link biblical commentary and exegeses with modern spirituality. In it Fitzmyer laid out his interpretation of Romans in a more condensed form. Using historical and rhetorical criticism, in spite of Paul's Jewish background and Greco-Roman setting, Fitzmyer saw coherency in Paul's message. While some scholars argue that Paul's theology is largely dependent on context, such as the crisis in the Corinthian community, Fitzmyer argues for a vital application of Romans to our modern context.

Fitzmyer saw the essence of Paul's gospel in Romans 3:21,24: "But now...all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption which comes in Christ Jesus." This can be seen as an epicenter to Paul's writings. God's grace is given to all gratuitously, if one accepts it through faith in Christ Jesus. Furthermore, Paul uses the phrase "but now" in an eschatological fashion. Paul does not see the time of this gratuitous grace to be a future event, but already present in the Christ-event. 


  • Fitzmyer, Joseph (1964). The Historical Truth of the Gospels: the 1964 instruction of the Biblical Commission. Glen Rock, NJ: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-3253-9.  See "The Biblical Commission’s Instruction" below for earliest publication in English.
  • ——— (1967). The Aramaic Inscriptions of Sefîre (2nd ed.). Rome: Pontificial Biblical Institute. ISBN 978-8-8765-3347-1. 
  • ——— (1979). The Semitic Background of the New Testament Volume II: A Wandering Aramean: Collected Aramaic Essays. Biblical Resource Series (3rd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-4846-8. 
  • ——— (1981). The Gospel According to Luke 1-9. Anchor Yale Bible. 28. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-3850-0515-9. 
  • Reumann, John Henry Paul; ——— (1982). Righteousness in the New Testament: Justification in the United States Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue. Philadelphia, PA & New York: Fortress Press & Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-2436-7. 
  • ——— (1985). The Gospel according to Luke 10-24. Anchor Yale Bible. 28A. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-3851-5542-7. 
  • ——— (1986). Scripture and Christology: a statement of the Biblical Commission with a commentary. New York: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-2789-4. 
  • ——— (1989). Paul and His Theology: A Brief Sketch (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-1365-4419-7. 
  • ——— (1990). Brown, Raymond E.; et al., eds. The New Jerome Biblical commentary. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-2256-6803-2. 
  • ———; Glanzman, George S. (1990). An Introductory Bibliography for the Study of Scripture (3rd ed.). Rome: Pontificio Istituto Biblico. ISBN 978-8-8765-3592-5. 
  • ——— (1990). The Dead Sea Scrolls: major publications and tools for study (Revised ed.). Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press. ISBN 978-0-8841-4053-5. 
  • ——— (1991). A Christological Catechism: New Testament Answers (Second ed.). Glen Rock, NJ: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-3253-9. 
  • ——— (1992). Responses to 101 Questions on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Glen Rock, NJ: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-3348-2. 
  • ———; Kaufman, Stephen A. (1992). An Aramaic Bibliography: Part I: Old, Official, and Biblical Aramaic (Publications of The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon Project). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-4312-9. 
  • ——— (1993). According to Paul: Studies in the Theology of the Apostle. Glen Rock, NJ: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-3390-1. 
  • ——— (1993). Romans. Anchor Yale Bible. 33. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-3001-4078-1. 
  • ——— (1994). Scripture: The Soul of Theology. Glen Rock, NJ: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-3509-7. 
  • ———; Harrington, Daniel J. (1994). A Manual of Palestinian Aramaic texts: (second century B.C.-second century A.D.) (2nd ed.). Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico. ISBN 978-8876533341. 
  • ——— (1995). The Biblical Commission's Document "The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church: Text and Commentary. Subsidia biblica. 18. Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico. ISBN 978-8-8765-3605-2. 
  • ——— (1995). Spiritual Exercises Based on Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. Glen Rock, NJ: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-3580-6. 
  • ——— (1997). The Semitic Background of the New Testament Volume I: Essays on the Semitic Background of the New Testament. Biblical Resource Series (Reprint ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-4845-1. 
  • ——— (1997). The Semitic Background of the New Testament: Combined Edition of "Essays on the Semitic Background of the New Testament" and "A Wandering Aramean". Biblical Resource Series (Combined ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-4344-9. 
  • ——— (1998). The Acts of the Apostles. Anchor Yale Bible. 31. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-3854-6880-0. 
  • ——— (1998). To Advance the Gospel: New Testament Studies. Biblical Resource Series (2nd ed.). New York: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0802844255. 
  • ——— (2000). The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins. Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls & Related Literature. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-4650-1. 
  • ——— (2001). The Letter to Philemon. Anchor Yale Bible. 34C. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-3001-4055-2. 
  • ——— (2002). Tobit. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-1101-7574-5. 
  • ——— (2004). The Genesis Apocryphon of Qumran Cave 1 (1Q20): a commentary (3rd ed.). Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico. ISBN 978-8-8765-3318-1. 
  • ——— (2007). The One Who is to Come. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-4013-4. 
  • ——— (2008). 1 Corinthians. Anchor Yale Bible. 33. New York: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-3001-4044-6. 
  • ——— (2008). Luke the Theologian: Aspects of His Teaching. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock. ISBN 978-1-5924-4959-0. 
  • ——— (2008). The Interpretation of Scripture: In Defense of the Historical-Critical Method. New York: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-4504-1. 
  • ——— (2008). A Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature. Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls & Related Literature (Revised & expanded ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-6241-9. 
  • ——— (2009). The Impact of the Dead Sea Scrolls. New York: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-4615-4. 
  • Articles & Chapters

  • ——— (1964). "The Biblical Commission’s Instruction on the historical truth of the Gospels". Theological Studies. 25: 386–408. 
  • Festschrift

  • M. P. Horgan and P. J. Kobelski, To Touch the Text: Biblical and Related Studies in Honor of Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J. New York: Crossroad, 1989.
  • References

    Joseph Fitzmyer Wikipedia