Professor Edith Humphrey Retires from Teaching New Testament
It is with a mixture of pride, joy, and sadness that Pittsburgh Theological Seminary honors the retirement of Dr. Edith M. Humphrey, its William F. Orr Professor of New Testament. For more than 18 years, Dr. Humphrey has enriched this community with her passion, scholarship, and teaching.
Some strange circumstances led to Dr. Humphrey filling this role at PTS. In the aftermath of the attacks of Sept.11, 2001, a scholar living overseas did not feel comfortable flying to America to give a guest lecture, so Dr. Humphrey was called upon to “pinch hit” as a speaker at a conference in the Pittsburgh area. It so happened that a PTS faculty member attended her lecture series and told her about a New Testament position that would soon be open. The rest, as they say, is history. Dr. Humphrey moved to Pittsburgh with her husband Christopher and her daughters Alexandra and Joëlle (her oldest daughter, Meredith, was already attending a university).
This new chapter spanned almost two decades and has been filled with remarkable achievements. Yet, despite her many publications, honors, and awards, as Dr. Humphrey reflects on her time here, her emphasis and joy are focused on the students she has taught and befriended.
“From my students I have learned so much about the world, and about different responses to the gospel—Coptic, Arabic, African American, Nigerian, South American, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal, and (of course) Reformed,” Dr. Humphrey warmly recalls. “It has been my privilege to do (most of the time) what I love the most: to read the Bible alongside others who love Jesus, to see the Triune God illumined in these readings, and to consider how best we can help God’s people to thrive today.”
Dr. Humphrey’s time at PTS—though not completely over, as she will be teaching in the DMin program—ended on a high note. As classes shifted to online delivery because of the pandemic, she had the opportunity to teach her final course on one of her favorite topics: beloved 20th-century author C. S. Lewis. “It was one of the highlights of my career,” she beams. “Profound questions and lively discussion took place every Thursday, often spilling past the cut-off time for class!”
While goodbyes can be sad, Dr. Humphrey is very excited for her next chapter. She will soon complete her first children’s novel, Beyond the White Fence. This will require a lot of “research” spending time with her soon-to-be 20 grandchildren, who serve as the inspiration for the book’s main characters! In addition, Dr. Humphrey will be busy with speaking, teaching, academic writing, and travel.
Dr. Humphrey is grateful for the all the ways this seminary community has provided friendship, learning, support, and challenge. She wishes this blessing for her many colleagues over the years: “May God be with you all and keep you in the faith once given to the saints!”