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<< Return to SBL Forum Archive Barbara Ellen Bowe 1945- 2010

Barbara Ellen Bowe, RSCJ, Th.D., biblical scholar, respected professor and author, and beloved guide to the Holy Land, died Sunday, March 14, 2010 at the age of 64, at Oakwood, the Society of the Sacred Heart health care facility in Atherton, California, after a few months’ struggle with brain cancer. 

She was born in Schenectady, NY, in 1945. She graduated from Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY in 1967 and entered the Society of the Sacred Heart the same year. She received a Masters in Religious Education from Boston College, and the M.T.S. and Th.D. in New Testament and Christian Origins from Harvard Divinity School. Her dissertation on First Clement, A Church in Crisis: Ecclesiology and Paraenesis in Clement of Rome was published by Fortress Press in 1988 as part of the Harvard Dissertations in Religion Series.

After teaching for three years at Maryhill School of Theology in Manila, Philippines, she returned to the U.S. in 1989 to be Assistant, Associate, and Professor of New Testament at Catholic Theological Union at Chicago, where she was on the faculty at the time of her death. She was a member of the Catholic Biblical Association, the Chicago Society of Biblical Research, the North American Patristics Society, and the Society of Biblical Literature. Among her many contributions at Catholic Theological Union, she served as director of the Masters of Divinity Program and of the Biblical Spirituality Certificate Program.

Her articles have appeared in Missiology, the Journal of Early Christian Studies, The Bible Today, U.S. Catholic and other scholarly and popular journals. She served on the editorial boards of The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, DA’AN (“the Way” – published in Manila), The Bible Today, and Theological Education. Her publications include A Key to the Letter to the Ephesians (Claretian Press in the Philippines, 1996) and, as Associate Editor and Contributor for Prayer from Alexander to Constantine. A Critical Anthology (Routledge, 1997). She contributed seven articles to the Dictionary of Jewish-Christian Relations published by Cambridge University Press and an article on 1 Clement for the Feminist Companion to Gnostic and Patristic Literature. Her last book, Biblical Foundations of Spirituality: Touching a Finger to the Flame (Rowman & Littlefield [Sheed and Ward], 2003) received two First Place awards from the Catholic Press Association in 2004. She was one of the Co-ordinating Editors for the Saint Mary’s Press College Study Bible (February, 2007).

She is survived by her sister, Patricia Bowe Wilson of Knoxville, Tennessee, and her brother and sister-in-law, John D. and Susan Bowe, of Moraga, CA. Another brother, Timothy Bowe, preceded her in death. The funeral took place at Oakwood, Atherton, CA on March 18. A second memorial will take place at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago on April 6. Burial will be at Kenwood, Albany, NY on April 17. Memorial contributions may be made to the Society of the Sacred Heart, 4120 Forest Park Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63108.


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