David Steinmetz, historian, Died at 79


David C. Steinmetz June 12, 1936 – November 26, 2015.

He was an American historian of late medieval and early modern Christianity.

Born in Columbus, Ohio, Steinmetz received his BA in English from Wheaton College in Illinois (1958) and his BD from Drew University (1961).

In 1961 he was ordained an elder in the Methodist Church.

He moved to Harvard University, where he took a ThD (1967) under the direction of the prominent Dutch Reformation historian Heiko Oberman.

Before coming to Duke University, where he spent most of his academic career, he taught for five years (1966-1971) at Lancaster Theological Seminary.

At the Duke Divinity School, he served as the Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of the History of Christianity and was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006.

He also served as a Visiting Professor at Harvard (1977), Notre Dame (1993, 1997, 2005, 2008), and Emory (2010) universities.

In 1959 Steinmetz married Virginia Ruth Verploegh, an English teacher from Chicago whom he met at Wheaton Virginia earned her MA in English at Temple University and her PhD at Duke University.

She taught for several years at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, before she was appointed as Duke’s first director of graduate student career services. The couple has two children: Claire Elise and Matthew Eliot.

Steinmetz taught courses at Duke in four departments: the historical division of the Divinity School, the joint program in Graduate Religion, the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and the Department of German.

In 1985 he was elected president of the American Society of Church History.

In 1986, he was chosen as the first president of the American Friends of the Herzog August Bibliothek in Germany.

David C. Steinmetz passed away at age 79 in November 2015.