FWD: roland murphy 1917-2002

Trevor Peterson 06PETERSON at cua.edu
Mon Jul 22 11:45:57 EDT 2002

>===== Original Message From O'Connor, Michael P. <OCONNORM at cua.edu> =====

Roland Murphy, O. Carm., died of heart failure on Saturday, 20 July,
around 8 am at Providence Hospital in Washington, not far from
Whitefriars Hall, the Carmelite house where he had lived since his
retirement from Duke University.  Saturday was the feast of Elijah, one
of the central figures of Carmelite devotion, and Roland's 85th birthday
had been 18 July.  The hospitalization was brief; he was admitted on
Friday during the day; he had been suffering from emphysema for some
time and had been using oxygen for over a year.

He is best known for his controversial years at Catholic University,
where he did his studies, and for a productive era at Duke Divinity
School as George Washington Ivey Professor.  In later years, he received
honorary degrees from various Catholic schools: St. Francis College in
1968; Belmont Abbey College in 1987; St. Mary's College (Indiana) in
1990; Loyola University in his native Chicago in 1993; and Assumption
College (Worcester) in 1995.  Catholic University honored him as a
distinguished alumnus in 2000.

His long career is detailed in the two festschriften that appeared for
his eightieth birthday in 1997: Wisdom, You Are My Sister, edited by
Michael Barre as CBQMS 29, and Master of the Sacred Page, edited by
Keith Egan and Craig Morrison for the Carmelite Institute here in
Washington.  A earlier collection, a festschrift for his seventieth
birthday, reflects his long years at Duke: The listening heart: Essays
in Wisdom and the Psalms, ed. Kenneth G. Hoglund et al. as JSOT Supp 58
(1987).  His major book since the festschriften was his Word Bible
Commentary Series volume on Proverbs, 1998; he did corrections for a new
printing of that book this spring.  His last book is entitled
Experiencing Our Biblical Heritage and was published by Hendrickson in
2001; it touches on a number of themes of importance to Carmelite
spirituality and also deals with features of the wisdom tradition that
Roland felt prompted to return once again.

I visited him at Whitefriars on 10 July and found him lively and
engaged, although he had been somewhat reclusive on other recent visits.
He continued to work for Old Testament Abstracts during his last years,
reviewing books on wisdom, in English and especially in German and
Italian, and to write articles for the Biblical Theology Bulletin; one
or two of these may yet appear.  His last public contribution was an
exchange about Catholic biblical scholarship in Commonweal a few years
ago; he was characteristically optimistic in disagreeing with Luke
Timothy Johnson on the subject of "Catholic biblical scholarship: How
Catholic is it and does it matter?"

The number of his students is legion.

He is survived by his brother, who lives in Chicago.  There is a wake
today at Whitefriars in Washington, and the funeral will be held
tomorrow at 10 am at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the
Immaculate Conception Crypt Church, also in Washington; he will be
buried in Chicago on Wednesday.

Michael Patrick O'Connor
Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures
The Catholic University of America

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