Martin E. Marty
Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the History of Modern Christianity in the Divinity School
Ph.D. (University of Chicago)
Martin Marty taught in the Divinity School, the Department of History, and the Committee on the History of Culture from 1963-1998. He focused chiefly on late eighteenth and twentieth century American religious history in the context of "Atlantic Culture." An ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Professor Marty put considerable effort into the Master of Divinity Program at the Divinity School. His six-year "Fundamentalism Project" for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1988-1994) led him to enlarge his focus to global inter-religious concerns. See Marty's web-site, www.memarty.com provides links to many biographical details and information about current work.
Living not on campus but down town, he does not engage in regular activities, but considers himself a "utility infielder" for Divinity School activities and is much connected through the internet with the Martin Marty Center, named upon his retirement, as an arm of the Divinity School to advance "public religion" endeavors. He writes a weekly e-mail column Sightings for the Center. He continues a vocation centering on writing and academic lecturing.
Marty is the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he taught for 35 years and where the Martin Marty Center has since been founded to promote “public religion” endeavors. He writes the “M.E.M.O” column for the biweekly Christian Century, on whose staff he has served since 1956. He is also the editor of the fortnightly Context, since 1969, and authors the Marty Center’s weekly e-mail column, .
The author of over fifty books, Marty has written the three-volume Modern American Religion (University of Chicago Press). Other books are The One and the Many: America’s Search for the Common Good; Education, Religion and the Common Good and Politics, Religion and the Common Good, and with photographer Micah Marty, Places Along the Way; Our Hope for Years to Come; The Promise of Winter; and When True Simplicity Is Gained. He has published thirteen books in the thirteen years since retirement, including, most recently, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Letters and Papers from Prison: A Biography.His Righteous Empire won the National Book Award.
Presidencies and directorships:
Marty is past president of the American Academy of Religion, the American Society of Church History, and the American Catholic Historical Association. He has served on two U.S. Presidential Commissions and was director of both the Fundamentalism Project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Public Religion Project at the University of Chicago. He has served St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, since 1988 as Regent, Board Chair, Interim President in late 2000, and is now Senior Regent.
Marty’s honors include the National Humanities Medal, the National Book Award, the Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the University of Chicago Alumni Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal of the Association of Theological Schools, and the Order of Lincoln Medallion (Illinois’ top honor). He is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society and of the Society of American Historians, an elected fellow of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and—a native of that state—is an admiral in the Nebraska Navy. Marty has received 80 honorary doctorates.
Born in West Point, Nebraska on February 5, 1928, Marty was ordained into the ministry in 1952 and served for a decade as a Lutheran parish pastor before joining the University of Chicago faculty in 1963. “Marty” and his wife Harriet, a musician, live in in the John Hancock Center, and enjoy an extended family of seven children, including two who first joined the family as foster children, nine grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.
For further background, see Who’s Who in America, Contemporary Authors, and similar guides.