The Rev. Dr. Rowan Greer, Class of ’59, died March 17 in New Haven after a long illness. Greer was born in Columbus Ohio, and graduated from Yale in 1956 before attending General Seminary. He received an MA in 1964 and a PhD in 1965 from Yale. Ordained in 1960 in the Diocese of Connecticut, he began his ordained ministry as curate at St. Paul’s in Fairfield, Connecticut and from 1961 to 1964 served as curate at Christ Church, New Haven – the church with which he continued to have frequent associations. Greer joined the faculty of Yale-Berkeley Divinity School in 1966 as Assistant Professor of New Testament, was made Associate Professor of New Testament in 1971, Associate Professor of Anglican Studies in 1975, and Professor of Anglican Studies in 1981. He was the author of several books, most recently Anglican Approaches to Scripture: Reformation to the Present (Crossroads 2006).
Dean Gregory Sterling of Yale-Berkley Divinity School remembered him as “an internationally recognized expert on the interpretation of Scripture and the early Church.” The Dean also said, “He touched the lives of students profoundly.” Stanley Hauerwas dedicated a series of lectures to Greer as the faculty member who most influenced him while he was in New Haven. Greer was remembered by many students as approachable and not dominating.
Greer’s ministry was not confined to Yale-Berkley Divinity School. He served for several years as chaplain of Edinburgh Theological College of the Scottish Episcopal Church. In the New Haven area, he served as various times at St. Thomas Church, as well as Christ Church.
In 1997, he was made an emeritus scholar of the Yale Corporation and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he served as curate at St. Peter’s Church. He returned to New Haven in 1999 and taught for two more years.