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John W. Rogerson

Professor of Biblical Studies Emeritus University of Sheffield

Perhaps it was a sense of social justice that led J. W. Rogerson to write a book about the unfair dismissal of two Victorian professors of theology, both of whom were ahead of their time. Social issues are the golden thread that runs through his many books.

Born in 1935, Rogerson learned Russian and served in the Royal Air Force at the height of the Cold War. Returning to civilian life, he entered the University of Manchester and graduated with a BA in 1961. He received an MA in Semitic languages in 1963 from Oxford and completed a year’s work at  the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After returning to Britain, he began to travel two roads. He completed seminary training, became ordained and has been an ordained priest in the Church of England for over forty years. He holds the title of Canon Emeritus of Sheffield Cathedral.

From 1964 to 1979 he taught at the theology department at the University of Durham. In 1979 he transferred to the University of Sheffield remaining there as a professor and head of the department until his retirement in 1996. J. W. Rogerson is Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies at the university.

Renowned as a ‘leading Old Testament scholar’ it was the social element that moved him. Whether it was Anthropology and the Old Testament (1984) or Bible in Ethics (1995), human relationships in the biblical world was his métier. He investigated the city in biblical perspective the social background to cities in the biblical world. The social study of the Bible was another area of interest and he continually analyzed social moral and political questions. Furthermore he was interested in the nature of biblical interpretation.

He was awarded the degree of DD by Manchester for his published work and holds three honorary doctorates: from the University of Aberdeen (1998), Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (2005) and Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (2006).

Rogerson passed away in September of 2018.


  • David Kahan, University of Glasgow