Adela Yarbro Collins and John J. Collins receive Gutenberg Research Awards

June 14, 2018

On May 6 Adela Yarbro Collins, Buckingham Professor Emerita of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation, received the Gutenberg Research Award, along with her husband, John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation. Presented by the Gutenberg Research College (GRC) at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, the award honors outstanding international researchers. The GRC continues the tradition of the university’s Graduate School of Excellence through “Materials Science in Mainz,” which initiated the Gutenberg Research Award in 2006. 

Adela Yarbro Collins received a “Doctor theologiae honoris causae” from the University of Oslo in 1994 and an “Ehrendoktor” from the University of Zurich in 2015. Her first book, The Combat Myth in the Book of Revelation, was influential within New Testament scholarship and the study of the history of Early Christianity, as it revived the history of religion’s approach to this apocalyptic work. Subsequently, Adela Collins fostered innovative research on the book of Revelation in Crisis and Catharsis: The Power of the Apocalypse by introducing social psychology to the study of this text and bringing this approach to bear on the interpretation of a somewhat strange but nevertheless fascinating writing of Early Christianity. Her commentary on the Gospel of Mark is another important work, published in the leading series of American biblical commentaries, Hermeneia. In addition to the commentary, she contributed many publications to the research on the Gospel of Mark.

In the early seventies, John Collins formulated a definition of “apocalypse” and “apocalypticism” that became a standard in the entire field of biblical studies. His seminal work, The Apocalyptic Imagination, reached its third edition in 2016. The scholarly community regards this book and his commentary in the Hermeneia series on the apocalypse of the Hebrew Bible, the Book of Daniel, as classics. John Collins is also well known for his important studies and publications on the non-biblical literature found at Qumran. He is, however, not only one of the premiere specialists on apocalyptic and Qumran literature but also renowned as an excellent teacher. His general Introduction to the Hebrew Bible is now available in a second edition. As an acknowledgement for his outstanding performance, scholarship, and teaching, John Collins received an honorary degree from the University College Dublin in 2009 and the University of Zurich in 2015. Recently, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Both Adela Collins and John Collins have made and are still making important contributions to scholarship on the history and literature of the Second Temple Period (from approximately 520 before the common era to the year 70 of the common era), Early Judaism, and Early Christianity. Their oeuvre includes a vast number of monographs, articles in leading scholarly journals, editorial activities, and involvement in international conferences and meetings. In addition to their expertise in biblical literature, they are known for their excellence in teaching and leading scholars in the areas of the history of religion, Jewish Studies, and Christian origins. An important topic that both are continuously working on involves the ideas and literature of apocalypticism. The motifs and thoughts of this large movement in Early Judaism and Early Christianity are still vibrant today. While John Collins tends to focus upon the earlier period, including the Hebrew Bible, Qumran, and Early Jewish literature, Adela Collins pursues this phenomenon in the era of Early Christianity, the period of the New Testament and related apocryphal and pseudepigraphical literature.