Helmut Koester, German-born American history professor, Died at 89

Helmut Koester was born on December 18, 1926, in Hamburg and died on January 1, 2016.

He was a German-born American scholar of the New Testament and early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School.

His research was primarily in the areas of New Testament interpretation, history of early Christianity, and archaeology of the early Christian period.

Helmut received education under Rudolf Bultmann at the University of Marburg, Germany, after being released from a POW camp there in 1945.

Mr. Koester submitted his dissertation in 1954 and then became an assistant to G√ľnther Bornkamm at the University of Heidelberg from 1954-1956.

He started teaching at Harvard Divinity School in 1958 and became John H. Morison Research Professor of Divinity and Winn Research Professor of Ecclesiastical History in 2000.

Even though he was now emeritus, Helmut continues to teach at Harvard University.

Mr. Koester is co-editor and chair of the New Testament editorial board of the commentary series “Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible” published by Fortress Press (Minneapolis).

He has served as the president of the Society of Biblical Literature (1991).

He was also a member of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (SNTS) and was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He was an ordained minister of the Lutheran Church.

He married Gisela Harrassowitz in 1953.

They had four children, named Reinhild, Almut, Ulrich, and Heiko.

Helmut Koester has three grandchildren including Christopher, Lukas, and Alexander.

Helmut Koester passed away at 89 yrs old on January 1, 2016.