Remembering Rev. Dr. Richard D. Weis
January 9, 2021
With sorrow we note the passing of Rev. Dr. Richard D. Weis on December 31, 2020, in his home in Lexington Kentucky, after an extended illness.
An ordained Presbyterian minister, Dr. Weis served as Assistant and then Associate Professor of Old Testament at NBTS from 1987 until 1998, and as Academic Dean from 1992 to 1996. These were eventful years in the seminary’s history, a time of growth in the student body and of increasing diversity of students, faculty and staff. Both as a teacher and as an administrator, Dr. Weis had a major role in leading the way through these changes. As Rev. Dr. Renee House, who was his successor as Academic Dean, commented this week, ”Richard was the person on the faculty who, early on, insisted that we deal with the issues of gender, race and pedagogy that then moved the seminary decisively toward the changes in the faculty and the curriculum that proved central for the school’s future.” Also among his major contributions was the “Asian Initiative” program, which he started in 1991, to welcome and serve the needs of the Korean students then becoming a significant presence at NBTS. His students held him in high regard, for his wealth of knowledge and evident love of his subject as well as the practical applicability of his courses, and for his commitment to the inclusion of African American and feminist perspectives. All the while, he also pursued his own scholarship, especially in the field of Old Testament text-criticism, in which he became well known internationally.
After leaving NBTS, Dr. Weis continued his distinguished career, serving for thirteen years at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (Minnesota) as Dean and Professor of Old Testament Theology, and for another six years as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean and Professor of Hebrew Bible at Lexington Theological Seminary, before his retirement in 2017. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Rogers, who was also a well-loved figure in the NBTS community during their years in New Brunswick.
We give thanks for all that Richard was, by nature and grace, to us at NBTS, and to the many others whose lives he touched. We commit him to God’s love and care.