2018 – Adela Yarbro Collins and John J. Collins

Adela Yarbro Collins is Buckingham Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation Emerita at Yale University. John J. Collins is Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation and works also at Yale. Both have made and are still making enormously 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 excellent and leading scholars in the areas of the history of religion, Jewish Studies, and Christian origins.


(fltr) JGU President Georg Krausch, Adela Yarbro Collins, John J. Collins, GRC Director Thomas Hieke (photo/©: Simon Büttner, Brikettfilm)

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 Yarbro Collins pursues this phenomenon in the era of Early Christianity, that is the period of the New Testament and related apocryphal and pseudepigraphical literature.

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 now its third edition. The scholarly community regards this book and John’s commentary in the Hermeneia series on the "apocalypse" of the Hebrew Bible, the Book of Daniel, meanwhile 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 an excellent teacher. His general "Introduction to the Hebrew Bible" is now available in a second edition. As an acknowledgement for his outstanding performance, his scholarship and teaching, John Collins received an honorary degree from University College Dublin in 2009 and from the University of Zurich in 2015. Recently, he has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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 very influential within New Testament scholarship and the study of the history of Early Christianity, as it revived the history of religions approach to this apocalyptic work. Subsequently, Adela Yarbro 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 very 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 general.