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Category: Religion

One year ago: Ray S. Anderson

Anderson Ray S. Anderson displayed "a depth of insight and an almost joyful playfulness for the ministry of theology," wrote Christian D. Kettler of Friends University in Kansas shortly after the longtime Fuller Theological Seminary professor and prolific author died a year ago today.

Anderson, who was 83, taught theology and ministry for more than 30 years at Fuller in Pasadena, directing courses on influential theologians Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Anderson was 31 when he arrived at Fuller and received his divinity degree in 1959. He had worked on a farm for several years after serving in the Army Air Forces during World War II and earning a bachelor's degree from South Dakota State.

You can find the obituary that appeared in The Times on June 28, 2009, here.

--Keith Thursby

Photo: Ray S. Anderson

Feminist philosopher Mary Daly's serious wordplay

Mary Daly

Mary Daly, the radical feminist theologian and philosopher who died Jan. 3 at 81, was known for her wordplay, which expressed her belief in language as an essential weapon of subversion.

She delighted in subversion as an unapologetic lesbian separatist at Jesuit-run Boston College, where she held a faculty position for 33 years until her exclusion of men from her classes forced her retirement.

Considered a founding mother of modern feminism, she took common pejoratives, such as "hag," and applied new meanings. So she proudly called herself a "Positively Revolting Hag," which in her feminist universe denoted "a stunning, beauteous Crone; one who inspires positive revulsion from phallic institutions."

Another favorite of hers was "academentia," which she defined as the "normal state of persons in academia, marked by varying and progressive degrees; irreversible deterioration of faculties of intellectuals."

She listed these words and many others in "Websters' First New Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Language" (1987),  a bawdy and often blasphemous feminist dictionary "conjured" with Jane Caputi. According to Emily Erwin Culpepper, a University of Redlands religion and women's studies professor who knew the philosopher for nearly 40 years, Daly spent her last conscious hours listening to a friend read from the book.

You can find Daly's obituary here.

-- Elaine Woo

Photo: Mary Daly in 1999. Credit: Associated Press

Feminist theologian Mary Daly dies at 81

Daly Feminist theologian and author Mary Daly, who retired from a professorship at Boston College rather than allow men to take her classes, died Sunday at a Massachusetts nursing home. She was 81.

She had been ill for some time, Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn said today.

Daly had a stormy 33-year tenure at the Jesuit university.

She challenged the patriarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in her writings. She said she barred men from her class because women did not freely exchange ideas with them present, though she did privately tutor men.

In 1999, the university ordered her to accept a male student who threatened to sue. She took a leave of absence and filed a lawsuit. It was settled in 2001 with her retirement.

An appreciation on National Public radio is here, and we'll have more later at

--Associated Press

Photo: Mary Daly in 1999. Credit: Associated Press

Iran's Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri dies

Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, one of Iran's most senior dissident clerics, a staunch defender of the nation's opposition movement as well as a learned theologian and pillar of the Islamic Revolution 31 years ago, has died. He was 87.

You can find the complete story by special correspondent Ramin Mostaghim here. And there will be more coverage later at

-- Keith Thursby

Oral Roberts dead at 91


Oral Roberts, the evangelist who rose from tent revivals to found a multimillion-dollar organization and an Oklahoma university bearing his name, has died. He was 91.

Roberts died today of complications from pneumonia in Newport Beach, his spokesman A. Larry Ross said. Roberts was hospitalized after a fall Saturday. He had survived two heart attacks in the 1990s and a broken hip in 2006.

By the 1960s and ’70s, the Oklahoma-born Roberts was reaching millions around the world through broadcasting, publications and personal appearances. Oral Roberts University, chartered in 1963, became a Tulsa landmark.

--Associated Press

We have a staff-written obituary now at

Photo: Oral Roberts giving a sermon in 1987. Credit: Associated Press


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