American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2014 New Members Include University of Chicago Divinity School Faculty and Alumni

May 14, 2014

On Wednesday, April 23, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced its newly elected members for 2014, which include some of the world's most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts. All four new members in the Religious Studies category for 2014 are Divinity School affiliates: Hans Dieter Betz, Shailer Mathews Professor Emeritus of New Testament and alumni Catherine L. Albanese (MA 1970, PhD 1972), John B. Cobb, Jr. (MA 1949, PhD 1952), and Helen Hardacre (PhD 1980).


One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, the Academy is also a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts, and education. Members of the 2014 class include winners of the Nobel Prize; the Wolf Prize; the Pulitzer Prize; National Medal of the Arts; MacArthur, Guggenheim, and Fulbright Fellowships; and Grammy, Emmy, Oscar, and Tony Awards. 


“It is a privilege to honor these men and women for their extraordinary individual accomplishments,” said Don Randel, Chair of the Academy’s Board of Directors. “The knowledge and expertise of our members give the Academy a unique capacity – and responsibility – to provide practical policy solutions to the pressing challenges of the day. We look forward to engaging our new members in this work.”


Professor Betz, the Shailer Mathews Professor Emeritus of New Testament in the Divinity School, the Department of New Testament and Early Christian Literature, and the Committee on the Ancient Mediterranean World, has been involved in international research and publication projects. He serves as editor-in-chief of the nine-volume lexicon Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, of which an English language edition, Religion Past and Present, is underway.  Prof. Betz’s research interests focus on early Christian literature and its literary, religious, and cultural environment of the Greco-Roman world. He has published three influential commentaries in the Hermeneia series and several monographs, including Lucian of Samosata and the New TestamentDiscipleship and Imitation of ChristThe Apostle Paul and the Socratic TraditionEssays on the Sermon on the Mount; and two edited volumes on Plutarch and early Christian literature. Five volumes of his collected essays (in English and in German) have appeared (1990-2009) under the titles Hellenismus und Urchristentum; Synoptische StudienPaulinische StudienAntike und ChristentumPaulinische Theologie und Religionsgeschichte. A critical edition and commentary of PGM IV.475-820 appeared under the title The 'Mithras Liturgy' (2003).


The Divinity School’s Alumna of the Year for 1991 and a scholar of American religious history, Catherine Albanese is J. F. Rowny Professor Emerita in Comparative Religions & Research Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Her boosk include Reconsidering Nature Religion, A Republic of Mind and Spirit: A Cultural History of American Metaphysical ReligionAmerica: Religions and Religion, 5th. ed., and Nature Religion in America: From the Algonkian Indians to the New Age.




John B. Cobb, Jr., the Divinity School’s Alumnus of the Year for 1985, is Emeritus Professor, Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate School. He has held many positions including Ingraham Professor of Theology at the Claremont School of Theology, Avery Professor at the Claremont Graduate School, Fullbright Professor at the University of Mainz, Visiting Professor at Vanderbilt, Harvard, and the University of Chicago Divinity Schools. His writings include Christ in a Pluralistic AgeGod and the World; and (co-authored with Herman Daly) For the Common Good, which was co-winner of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.




Helen Hardacre is Reischauer Institute Professor of Japanese Religions and Society at Harvard University. Her research on religion focuses on the manner in which traditional doctrines and rituals are transformed and adapted in contemporary life. Her publications include Marketing the Menacing Fetus in Japan (1997), which won the Arisawa Hiromichi Prize, and Religion and Society in Nineteenth-Century Japan: A Study of the Southern Kanto Region, Using Late Edo and Early Meiji Gazetteers (2002). Her current research centers on the issue of constitutional revision and its effect on religious groups.



Since its founding in 1780, the Academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the eighteenth century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the nineteenth, and Margaret Meade and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the twentieth. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.


The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 11, 2014, at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Please read the University of Chicago's press release for further information: http://news/article/2014/04/29/american-academy-arts-and-sciences-elects-28-members-uchicago-ties. The complete list of new members is available is located at