Jaroslav Pelikan

Jaroslav Jan Pelikan (1923 - 2006) was Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University and was one of the world's foremost scholars of the history of Christianity and medieval intellectual history. Pelikan was the son of a Lutheran minister who had emigrated from what is now Czechoslovakia and was born in Akron, Ohio. He was a graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary in St. Louis and received a doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1946.

Pelikan authored more than 30 books. They include the monumental five-volume series, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine (1971-1989). He described it as what "the church of Jesus Christ has believed, taught, and confessed on the basis of the word of God" for 20 centuries. Evangelical historian Mark Noll called it "a history of Christian doctrine on a scale no one has attempted before." For most of his life, he was a member the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. However, in his twilight years (1998), he and his wife converted to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Pelikan tended to steer clear of modern religious controversies and debates. "There ought to be somebody who speaks to the other 19 centuries," he said in a 1983 interview with the Christian Science Monitor. "Not everybody should be caught in this moment. I'm filing a minority report on behalf of the past."[1] Pelikan was also a former president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


  • Bach Among the Theologians (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986)
  • The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, 5 vols. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971-1989)
  • Christianity and Classical Culture, Yale U, (1995)
  • Credo: Historical and Theological Guide to Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition
  • Development of Christian Doctrine : Some Historical Prolegomena
  • Divine Rhetoric: The Sermon on the Mount As Message and As Model in Augustine, Chrysostom, and Luther
  • The Excellent Empire: The Fall of Rome and the Triumph of the Church
  • Faust the Theologian
  • The Idea of the University : A Reexamination
  • Interpreting the Bible and the Constitution (John W. Kluge Center Books)
  • Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture
  • Luther's Works
  • Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings
  • Mary Through the Centuries : Her Place in the History of Culture
  • Mary: Images Of The Mother Of Jesus In Jewish And Christian Perspective *The Melody of Theology: A Philosophical Dictionary
  • The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century (Forward)
  • The Riddle of Roman Catholicism
  • The World Treasury of Modern Religious Thought, 1990, (editor)
  • What Has Athens to Do with Jerusalem? : Timaeus and Genesis in Counterpoint (Thomas Spencer Jerome Lectures)
  • Whose Bible Is It? A History of the Scriptures Through the Ages

External links

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