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<< Return to SBL Forum Archive Roy F. Melugin 1937-2008

Roy Melugin was a wonderful colleague, scholar, teacher, and friend. He was always eager for conversation about his life-long interest in the study of the book of Isaiah. He was always ready to take on the responsibilities of leadership in both academy and church. He was always interested in talking with friends about family and his various projects. And he always came to the SBL meetings with his wife, Sylvia, so that the two of them could enjoy the trip and their friends together. Encountering Roy and Sylvia was always a joy.

Roy passed away on Wednesday, April 9, 2008, only a few weeks after learning that he was ill with cancer. A memorial service in celebration of his life was held on Monday, April 14, 2008, in the sanctuary of the First Presbyterian Church, Fort Worth, Texas.

Roy Frank Melugin, Jr., was born on June 6, 1937, in Clovis, New Mexico, and married his loving wife, Sylvia, on June 14, 1958. Roy and Sylvia are the proud parents of two daughters, Cynthia Melugin and her husband Ned Walpin, and Annella Schneider. They are also the proud grandparents of Alexandra Walpin and Cory Schneider.

Roy was educated at McMurry University, where he earned his B.A. in 1959; Southern Methodist University, where he earned his B.D. in 1962; and Yale University, where he earned his M.A. in 1965 and his Ph.D. in 1968. He undertook graduate study in Near Eastern languages at the University of Toronto in 1962-63 and post-doctoral study at the University of Heidelberg in 1973-74 and at the Claremont Graduate School in 1980 and 1987-88.

Roy served on the faculty of Austin College in Sherman, Texas, from 1967 until his retirement in 1999. He was always known as a stimulating teacher and wise mentor for his many students as well as a resourceful and dedicated faculty colleague. He became Full Professor at Austin in 1977, served as Department Chair in 1975-79 and 1983-87, and was named Gould H. and Marie Cloud Professor of Religion in 1983. In addition to his service at Austin College, Roy was Visiting Professor at the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1977 and Adjunct Professor at the Perkins School of Theology in 1985. Since 1999, he has served as Research Professor at the Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University. He was an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church, and he worshipped with Sylvia at the First Presbyterian Church, Fort Worth, Texas.

Roy’s scholarly publications included, The Formation of Isaiah 40-55 (BZAW 141; Berlin and New York, 1976), a groundbreaking study that attempted to define the coherence of Second Isaiah; New Visions of the Book of Isaiah (co-edited with Marvin A. Sweeney; JSOTSup 214; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996), which brought together essays generated by the influential SBL Isaiah Seminar; and a host of articles on Isaiah, prophetic literature, biblical theology, form critical method, and other topics. At the time of his death, Roy was working on Isaiah 40-66 (FOTL 17; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans) and The Irony of the Presence of G-d: Amos and the Formation of a Symbolic World.

Roy’s service to the Society of Biblical Literature was exemplary. He served as Old Testament Program Coordinator for the Society of Biblical Literature Southwestern Region in 1976-77, Vice President of the SBL Southwestern Region in 1977-78, President Elect of the SBL Southwestern Region in 1978-79, President of the SBL Southwestern Region in 1979-80, and Secretary-Treasurer from 1996 on. He was the Chair of SBL Group on the Formation of Prophetic Books in 1977-83, Co-Chair of the Formation of the Book of Isaiah Consultation in 1990-91, Co-Chair of the Formation of the Book of Isaiah Seminar in 1992-96, and Co-Chair of the Formation of the Book of Isaiah Group in 1996-99. His efforts stimulated exciting and groundbreaking work in Isaiah, and spawned a number of SBL program units devoted to other prophetic works as well.

Roy will always be remembered for his infectious smile, his engaging personality, and his love of family, friends, colleagues, and students. He will be greatly missed.

Memorials may be made to Austin College or Brite Divinity School.

Marvin A. Sweeney, Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University

Citation: Marvin A. Sweeney, " Roy F. Melugin 1937-2008," SBL Forum , n.p. [cited April 2008]. Online:


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