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K. V. Mathew

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K. V. Mathew
Born November 2, 1931(1931-11-02)
Church Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church
Other names Professor Mathew
Ordained 1955
Writings See Contents - 3.Writings
Offices held </br>
Title Reverend Doctor
Parents Mother: Smt. Rachel</br>

Father: Sri K. T. Varkey

P christianity Christianity Portal

K. V. Mathew is a Biblical Scholar and a member[2] of the scholarly Society for Biblical Studies in India, a Learned society, incorporating Biblical Scholars of the Protestant, Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Charismatic traditions.

The Biblical languages, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek were known[3] to Prof. Mathew.

It was Sigmund Mowinckel who was a significant Psalms Scholar. Prof. Mathew also researched on Psalms at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland[3].

Subhasito Snehomoyo Patro of Jeypore who researched at the University of Kiel, Germany in 1976 cited both Sigmund Mowinckel and Mathew on the issue of Royal Psalms[4] categorized by Hermann Gunkel.

The One-Volume Bible Commentary in Malayalam was a pioneering work whose Editor was Prof. K. V. Mathew who worked together with E. C. John who was its Chief Editor[5].

Scholarly Contributions

Ronald E. Manahan, the President of Grace College, Winona Lake, Indiana in his doctoral dissertation entitled A Re-examination of the Cultural Mandate: An analysis and Evaluation of the Dominion Materials[6] cites K. V. Mathew:

.....Prof. Mathew believed that the Psalmic material describing nature is a cultic expression of faith and not a historical statement.

L. Jayachitra, a New Testament Scholar[7] in an article discussed the gender identity of God where she quoted K. V. Mathew:

.....According to K.V.Mathew, "God in reality is not a noun but a verb".

Joseph Oomen, a Priest of the Mar Thoma Church[8] quotes K. V. Mathew on the topic concerning God.

.....In the Old Testament, according to K. V. Mathew, we don’t have any definitive description about the nature of God.

Taking the above cue from Dr. Mathew, Oomen builds up his article thus:

In the expression ‘Eheh’6 the ‘ousia’ of God is denoted not by a static being but a dynamic creative becoming. The Hebrew word Elohim is plural. So the single Godhead comprises the majesty of divine plurality. The nature of God as it is shown in the book of Genesis implies that God is a family (Genesis 5:2-3); God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4, Exodus 20:3).


Schooling & Collegiate Studies

Kuzhuvelil Varkey Mathew was born on 2 November 1931 in Keezhuvaipur in Kerala to Smt. Rachel and Sri K. T. Varkey. Mathew studied at the local CMS High School in Mallapally in Pathanamthitta District and later underwent pre-university studies at the CMS College in Kottayam.


After Mathew evinced interest in pursuing studies in divinity, the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church then headed by Juhanon Mar Thoma (Mar Thoma XVIII) sent him to Serampore College, Serampore where he pursued graduate studies in theology during the academic years 1951- 1955 during the Principalship of Rev. C. E. Abraham who incidentally was its first Indian Principal[9].

The Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church ordained Mathew as a Pastor in 1955 and was made Vicar in Mylom. After briefly donning the pastoral role, Mathew was sent again to Serampore College during the academic year 1956-1957 and then to the United Theological College[10], Bengaluru in the ensuing academic year to pursue post-graduate studies in Biblical Studies leading to M. Th. in Old Testament thereby becoming the first Indian to pursue a post-graduate course in Old Testament under the Senate of Serampore College (University), a State University[11] of the Government of West Bengal and recognised by the University Grants Commission under Section 2 (f)[11] of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956. Mathew studied Old Testament under the distinguished Old Testament Professor Norman Henry Snaith[12] then a Visiting Professor[10] at the Seminary in Bengaluru and worked out a thesis using the Septuagint.

From 1958 to 1960 Mathew was made Vicar of the Mar Thoma Parish in Calcutta[13].



Prof. Mathew began teaching Old Testament in Serampore College, a constituent College of the Senate of Serampore College (University)[14], Serampore beginning from the academic year 1960[15] till 1971 when his parent Church, the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church recalled[15] him to Kottayam for teaching in the Mar Thoma Theological Seminary. Paulose Mar Paulose, D. S. Satyaranjan, G. Babu Rao, S. Jeyapaul David and James Massey were few of the students of K. V. Mathew. One of his old students, G. Babu Rao returned to Serampore to teach Old Testament from 1974. Mathew's teaching colleagues included Y. D. Tiwari and others.

Starting from the academic year 1971-1972, Mathew began teaching Old Testament in the Mar Thoma Theological Seminary, Kottayam. In 1981, he was made Principal of the Mar Thoma Theological Seminary and continued in that position till 1986.

Prof. Mathew was also on the panel of Professors under the Federated Faculty for Research in Religion and Culture[5] (FFRRC), Kerala and served as a guide to post-graduate and doctoral students. In 2000, K. V. Mathew was invited by the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar (Delhi Diocese) to serve as the Principal[16] of Dharma Jyoti Vidyapeeth {affiliated to the Senate of Serampore College (University)}, Faridabad. Mathew held the reins of this institution in Faridabad till 2002.


  • Mar Thoma Sabha

After two decades of teaching in the Seminary in Kottayam, Mathew was made the Secretary[5] of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church in 1987 continuing till 1990 under Metropolitan Alexander Mar Thoma (Mar Thoma XIX).

The Society for Biblical Studies in India was constituted by Biblical Scholars to foster Biblical scholarship in relation to the Indian context. Prof. Mathew also served as an office-bearer of the SBSI. He was twice elected as its President in 1983 and 1994[17].


  • Ancient Religions of the Fertile Crescent and the Sanatana Dharma[18]
  • Trinity-Semantic Considerations[19]
  • The Concept of God and Nature in the Psalms[6]
  • The Hermeneutical Struggle in India[20]
  • Indigenisation: An Old Testament Perspective[21]
  • The faith and practice of the Mar Thoma Church[22]
  • Walking humbly with God : A Biography of the Rev. C. E. Abraham[23]
  • Ecological Perspectives in the Book of Psalms[24]
  • Crisis and Hope in Israel's Exile[25]
  • Dr. M. M. Thomas - A Grateful Memory[26]
  • Last Supper - A Kingdom Perspective[25]
  • Ecology and Faith in the Old Testament[5]

Higher Studies

While teaching Old Testament in Serampore College, Prof. Mathew availed study leave and proceeded to the University of Edinburgh[3], Scotland in the academic year 1962-1963[15] and enrolled himself for pursuing doctoral studies in the field of Old Testament under Professors G. W. Anderson[27], N. W. Porteous[28] and R. E. Clements[29], who were then teaching at the University of Edinburgh. Between the academic years 1964-1968, Prof. Mathew returned to Serampore College, Serampore to take up his teaching assignments. He left the College again in 1968-1969 to spend a year at the University of Hamburg, Germany under Klaus Koch. In the final phase of his doctoral research, he spent the final academic year (1969-1970) at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and submitted a thesis on the topic God and Nature in the Book of Psalms thereby becoming the first Indian to be awarded a doctorate by the Faculty of Theology of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Visiting Scholar

After leaving the Seminary in Kottayam in 1994, Prof. Mathew spent three years as a Pastor taking care of the Parish in Ranni. In 1997, he was Visiting Professor[25] at the Aizawl Theological College, Aizawl. In 1999 and 2008, he was a Visiting Professor at his alma mater in Serampore. From 2000 to 2002 he took up the Principalship[16] of Dharma Jyoti Vidyapeeth in Faridabad.

See also

Professional and academic associations
Preceded by
Member[2]</br>Society for Biblical Studies in India
Succeeded by
Preceded by
K. David /</br> R. J. Raja
President[2]</br>Society for Biblical Studies in India
19831985 /</br> 1994-1996
Succeeded by
R. Van de Walle /</br> P. A. Sampath Kumar
Academic offices
Preceded by
B. F. Price

Serampore College, Serampore
1962 - 1971

Succeeded by
D. A. Gregory
Preceded by

Mar Thoma Theological Seminary, Kottayam
1971 - 1994

Succeeded by
Geevarghese Mathew & P. G. George
Preceded by
K. C. Mathew

Mar Thoma Theological Seminary, Kottayam
1981 - 1986

Succeeded by
M. J. Joseph
Preceded by

Federated Faculty for Research in Religion and Culture, Kerala

Succeeded by
Preceded by

Dharma Jyoti Vidyapeeth, Faridabad
2000 - 2002

Succeeded by
V. S. Varghese
Religious titles
Preceded by
T. L. Varghese
Vicar in Mylom
1955 - 1956
Succeeded by
V. K. Mathew
Preceded by
K. V. Jacob
Vicar in Calcutta
1958 - 1960
Succeeded by
K. O. Sam
Preceded by
N. M. Cherian
Vicar in Ranni-Pazhavangadikara
1994 - 1996
Succeeded by
Jacob Thomas


  1. Clergy Address, Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Fr. Max Gonsalves (Ed.), Society for Biblical Studies in India Directory 1998. Entry 131, page 30.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Katharine Smith Diehl, Early Indian imprints, Published by Scarecrow Press, 1964.[1]
  4. Subhasito Snehomoyo Patro, Royal psalms in modern scholarship, an unpublished dissertation submitted to the University of Kiel, Germany, 1976. [2]
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 P. Jegadish Gandhi, K. C. John, Upon the winds of wider ecumenism: essays and tributes in honour of Rev. Dr. M. J. Joseph, Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, New Delhi, 2006. p.349. [3].
  6. 6.0 6.1 Ronald E. Manahan, A Re-examination of the Cultural Mandate: An analysis and Evaluation of the Dominion Materials, An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Doctor of Theology in Grace Theological Seminary, May 1982, Winona Lake, Indiana. [4]
  7. L. Jayachitra, A Postcolonial Feminist Biblical Interpretation : Mary Magdalene and Canonization, Bangalore Theological Forum, Volume 38, 2006. [5]
  8. Joseph Oomen, The Concept of Trinity and Its Implication for Christian Communication in Indian Context. Religion Online. Internet, accessed September 21, 2009. [6]
  9. S. Muthaiah, Neurology and the spiritual, The Hindu, Monday, March 15, 2004. [7]
  10. 10.0 10.1 The United Theological College, Directory 1910-1997, Bengaluru, 1997. p.7 and p.103.[8]
  11. 11.0 11.1 Under Section 2 (f) of the UGC Act, 1956, University means a University established or incorporated by or under a Central Act, a Provincial Act or a State Act, and includes any such institution as may, in consultation with the University concerned, be recoginsed by the Commission in accordance with the regulations made in this behalf under this Act. The UGC took the opinion that the Senate fell under the purview of Section 2 (f) of the said Act since The Serampore College Act, 1918 was passed by the Government of West Bengal.[9]
  12. G. W. Anderson, Norman Henry Snaith, 1898 - 1982 in Journal of Semitic Studies, 1983; Volume XXVIII: pp.355-356 [10]
  13. P. Thankappan Nair, South Indians in Kolkata : History of Kannadigas, Konkanis, Malayalees, Tamilians, Telugus, South Indian dishes, and Tippoo Sultan's heirs in Calcutta, Published by Punthi Pustak, Kolkata, 2004.[11]
  14. 14.0 14.1 V. C. Samuel (Edited), The Indian journal of theology, Volume 13, 1964. [12]
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 The Council of Serampore College, The Story of Serampore and its College, Fourth Edition 2005, Serampore.
  16. 16.0 16.1 National Council of Churches Review, Volume 120, Published by National Christian Council of India, 2000. p. 950. [13]
  17. Cf. Wikipedia article on Society for Biblical Studies in India
  18. K. V. Mathew, Religions of the Fertile Crescent and the Sanatana Dharma, Indian Journal of Theology, Volume 104, 1959.[14]
  19. K. V. Mathew in K. M. Tharakan (Edited) Triune God: Love, Justice, Peace, Published by Youth Movement of Indian Orthodox Church, Mavelikkara, 1989. p. 72. Cited by Joseph Oomen in The Concept of Trinity and Its Implication for Christian Communication in Indian Context. [15]
  20. K. V. Mathew, The Hermeneutical Struggle in India, The NCCI Review, Volume 101, Nagpur, 1981.[16]
  21. K. V. Mathew, Indigenisation: An Old Testament Perspective in papers submitted to the XIIth Conference of the Society for Biblical Studies on the theme "Diakonia and Leadership Patterns", held at De Nobili College, Pune from 29 December 1982 to 1 January 1983. [17]
  22. K. V. Mathew, The faith and practice of the Mar Thoma Church: (prepared for the Triple Jubilee Celebration of Reformation in the Malankara Church), Published by Mar Thoma Theological Seminary, 1985, Kottayam. [18]
  23. K. V. Mathew, Walking humbly with God : A Biography of the Rev. C. E. Abraham, Kottayam, 1986. Cited by Brian Stanley in The history of the Baptist Missionary Society, 1792-1992, T&T Clark, 1992.[19]
  24. K. V. Mathew in Bible Bhashyam, 1993, pp.159–68. Cited by David M. Howard, Jr. in Recent Trends in Psalms Study, 1999. [20]
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 K. V. Mathew, Crisis and Hope in Israel's Exile, A paper presented at the XVIIth Conference of the SBSI held in Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, 1998. Cited in Indian Theological Studies, Volume 35, 1998. [21]
  26. K. V. Mathew, Dr. M. M. Thomas - A Grateful Memory, NCCI Review, Volume 117, Nagpur, 1997. [22]
  27. G. W. Anderson (Edited), Tradition and Interpretation - Essays by Members of the Society for Old Testament Study, Oxford, December 1979. [23]
  28. N. W. Porteous, Living Issues in Biblical Scholarship - Prophet and Priest in Israel, The Expository Times, Vol. 62, No. 1, 4-9 (1950).[24]
  29. Edward Ball (Edited), In search of true wisdom: Essays in Old Testament interpretation in honour of Ronald E. Clements ( Volume 300 of Journal for the study of the Old Testament), Published by Continuum International Publishing Group, 1999. [25]
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