Krister O. Stendahl, 86, New Testament scholar, former dean of Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Mass., and Lutheran bishop of the Diocese of Stockholm (Sweden), died April 15.
He was known for promoting the ordination of women in the U.S. and Sweden, advancing ecumenical and interfaith relations through the Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches, and for supporting full equality for gay and lesbian people in both the church and society.
Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, wrote that Stendahl was one of “the most distinguished biblical scholars, theological leaders and insightful churchmen of the 20th century.
“[Stendahl] spoke what he believed was a timely word, even if what he said might provoke others to disagreement. Whenever he spoke, he formed his convictions on the basis of Scripture and the tradition of the church. He did not merely express his opinion. He always sought to teach and bring new insights into the community of faith, the church.”
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