Tuesday, 24 February 2009

In Memoriam: Professor Marcella Althaus-Reid (b.1952-d.2009)




It is with great sadness and shock to hear the news that Marcella died last week at the Marie Curie Hospice in Edinburgh on Friday 20th February 2009. When appointed, she was the only woman professor of theology at a Scottish University, and the first woman professor of theology at the University of Edinburgh in 160 years.

I had the good fortune of sharing a panel with Marcella a few years back at the Edinburgh Festival of Spirituality on 'A Male and Female God Made Us'. I was instantly drawn to her focus on liberation theology and I remember having a wonderful conversation with her before and after the panel at which she encouraged me to keep asking the challenging question on gender and sexuality in religion. Then two years ago I met her at the American Academy of Religion Conference in San Diego where we had a brief chat once again. That was the last time I met her. Marcella was a rare gem who inspired me greatly. God rest her soul.

The memorial service will be held at St. George's West Church (Shandwick Place), Edinburgh, on Saturday 07 March, at noon.

This is her biographical details that I took from Edinburgh University's Divinity School website.

"Professor Althaus-Reid held the Chair of Contextual Theology in the School of Divinity and was born in Rosario, Argentina. She completed her first degree at ISEDET, Buenos Aires, the world famous centre for the study of Liberation Theology in Latin America, studying under internationally acclaimed scholars including José Míguez Bonino and J. Severino Croatto. In 1994 she gained her PhD from the University of St Andrews and was appointed to a lectureship.

Professor Althaus-Reids first book, Indecent Theology (2000) brought her instant international acclaim. Together with her second book, The Queer God (2004) it has established a new field for the study of theology. To her critical engagement with Liberation and Feminist theologies she has added the dimension of Theology and Sexuality. Her work has been the subject of books, articles and conferences and has led to invitations to deliver lecture series not only in the UK but in Germany, Belgium, Italy and Spain. She has also lectured in the USA, Brazil and New Zealand. The translation of several of her work into Spanish has facilitated a new dialogue between Latin American and North Atlantic theologians.


Professor Althaus-Reid trained for the ministry of the Methodist Church of Argentina. In addition to her academic training she developed expertise in the method of conscientization, pioneered by the Brazilian educator and activist Paulo Freire. This she put to good use in social and community projects supported by the church in deprived areas of Buenos Aires. It was because of this experience that she was invited to set up similar projects in Dundee and Perth (Scotland)."

1 comment:

  1. This news comes as heartbreak to many. Thanks for this beautiful homage to a wonderful woman. I am saddened that I will have to live as a theologian who never had the chance of meeting her.

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