LSTC inaugurates Ralph W. and Marilyn R. Klein Chair of Old Testament August 17, 2010

When Ralph Klein, Christ Seminary-Seminex Professor of Old Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago concluded his 11-year tenure as academic dean, he and his wife, Marilyn, wanted to find a way to give a significant gift to the seminary. In 1999 they purchased a life insurance policy from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and named LSTC as the beneficiary.

On September 15 at 11 a.m. in the Augustana Chapel, LSTC will inaugurate the Ralph W. and Marilyn R. Klein Chair of Old Testament, made possible through their investment and dedication to the mission of forming visionary leaders for the church.

“I was well aware of the chronic under financing that LSTC has experienced from the beginning,” Klein said. Marilyn and I, of course, did not have the resources to fund this chair by ourselves, but with the expert help from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, we were able to multiply our funds.” These provisions allowed the Kleins to make the $1 million donation necessary to fund the chair.

Dr. Esther M. Menn will be the first Klein Professor of Old Testament

At the worship service and celebration on September 15, LSTC will inaugurate the Ralph W. and Marilyn R. Klein Chair of Old Testament. Dr. Esther M. Menn, director of advanced studies and professor of Old Testament, will be installed as the first Klein Professor of Old Testament. The Rev. Dr. Ralph W. Klein will preach. A free community lunch follows the service.

Dr. Esther M. Menn joined the LSTC faculty in 2001. Since 2008 Menn has directed LSTC’s master of theology and doctor of philosophy degree programs. She is an active participant in Jewish-Christian dialog and is a member of the ELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations and the Christian Scholars Group on Christian-Jewish Relations. She is the author of Judith and Tamar (Genesis 38) in Jewish Exegesis: Studies in Literary Form and Hermeneutics and a co-editor of Contesting Texts: Jews and Christians in Conversation about the Bible. She is currently editing a book about contemporary approaches to the Psalms.

Lecture by Dr. Peter Machinist

At 2 p.m. in the Augustana Chapel at LSTC, Dr. Peter Machinist, Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages at Harvard University, a former student of Klein’s, will deliver the lecture “What is Wisdom for? The Problem of Ecclesiastes.” A reception follows the lecture.

A gift born of stewardship and gratitude

Endowing a chair at LSTC was one more way for Ralph and Marilyn Klein to live out their faith. “Our stewardship of time, talents, and financial resources is part of our daily vocation as Christians,” said Klein.  “Funding a chair at the seminary is a gift that will keep on giving.”

Klein added, “We are so grateful to LSTC for accepting the ten of us from Christ Seminary-Seminex after the controversy at Concordia had forced us into exile. When one receives a gift, it is important to return the favor.”

With contributions from Cuttino Alexander


Patti DeBias,
Assistant to the President

Jan Boden
Director of Communication and Marketing

The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.

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