Christianity,  Personal

Dr. Harold Hoehner (1935-2009)

I just received word that one of my old professors from DTS has passed away, Dr. Harold Hoehner. The seminary has a tribute posted on their website that you should take a minute to read. Here are some random remembrances of what it was like to be his student.

Dr. Hoehner was more than just a professor at DTS. He was an institution. His tenure overlapped that of four different Presidents of the school: Dr. John Walvoord, Dr. Donald Campbell, Dr. Chuck Swindoll, and Dr. Mark Bailey. Dr. Hoehner taught at DTS for 42 years.

I took Dr. Hoehner for New Testament Introduction. I will never forget that he stood against the prevailing winds of New Testament Scholarship in holding to the Augustinian solution to the synoptic problem. He taught us that Matthew had written his Gospel first, that Mark used Matthew in composing his gospel, and that Luke relied on both Matthew and Mark in writing his gospel. He went against the grain of the vast majority of New Testament scholars in this opinion, but that never seemed to bother him. I liked that about him.

Even though he was one of the more demanding professors on campus, Dr. Hoehner was beloved by his students. He was a stickler for Turabian form and would rake us over the coals if we got it wrong in our papers. We affectionately referred to him as “Herod Hoehner” (a description of his exacting standards and an allusion to his book Herod Antipas).

He used a Mac before Macs were cool. In fact, he used to joke that Windows had plagiarized the Mac operating system. He would never miss an opportunity to highlight the superiority of the Mac over the PC. He almost converted me.

The entire time I was a student at DTS, Dr. Hoehner was working on his Ephesians commentary. We would always ask him about when it would be released, and the wait seemed to be interminable. The commentary finally appeared in 2002 and turned out to be encyclopedic in its scope. In it, he defends the Pauline authorship of Ephesians and that the letter was in fact addressed to the Ephesians. I am grateful for this work.

There is much more that can and should be said about the life Dr. Hoehner, and I look forward to reading the tributes that are sure to follow from his colleagues and students. Dr. Hoehner was 74 when he died. Rest in peace.


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