Jesuit Father Gerard H. Ettlinger died on July 15, 2018, at Murray-Weigel Hall in the Bronx, New York.
He was born on Sept. 30, 1935, in Flushing, New York. When he graduated from Regis High School in 1953, he had played JV basketball and won medals for his scholarship. He entered the Society of Jesus at St. Andrew-on-Hudson in Poughkeepsie, New York, on July 30, 1953, and was ordained on June 9, 1966, at Fordham University in the Bronx. He pronounced his final vows on Aug. 15, 1975, at Fordham.
Following the standard Jesuit training at the St. Andrew-on-Hudson novitiate, Bellarmine College, Shrub Oak for philosophy, and theology at Woodstock, he was off to Oxford University to study English, from 1968-1972. There he got his Ph.D., with Frankfort squeezed in for German. From 1972 to 1974 he taught theology at the Pontifical Oriental Institute. From 1974 to 1987 he taught classical literature at Fordham University, and went on to theology, a sabbatical in Rome, and back to theology teaching at Msgr. McClancy High School and a chaplaincy with the Brothers of the Sacred Heart in Elmhurst, New York.
In 1987 he moved to the theology department of St. John’s University in New York, where, until 2016, he deepened his scholarship and demonstrated his administrative skills as professor of theology, department chair, and holder of the John A. Flynn chair in theology.
Four of his major books deserve attention: “Theodoret of Cyrus Eranistes,” (1975), a translation of and commentary on fifth century theologians on the nature of Jesus; “The Fathers of the Church” (2003), a retranslation of Theodoret with a new, long introduction; “Jesus, Christ and Savior, the Message of the Fathers of the Church” (1987), a companion to a series on the Old and New Testaments; and “Corpus Christianorum” (2007), which he wrote working at both Fordham and St. John’s on a newly discovered commentary on Ecclesiates, collecting relevant documents from around the world and editing them together.