Dechow-JonPortola Valley, California

Jon F. Dechow is an independent scholar, retired clergyman, academic, and real estate developer in the San Francisco Bay Area of northern California. He served as pastor of several churches in the midwestern and eastern United States, and studied and taught at the University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers University. After completing doctoral work in 1975, he left church politics and the academic world. In 1976 he built a family residence in the Santa Cruz Mountains (see, Vista Verde/VV History). There his former Rutgers colleague Burton Mack and Robert Funk, founder of the Jesus Seminar, invited him to join the seminar on the eve of its founding in 1985. He joined as a corresponding Fellow (a category soon changed to regular Fellow). Extensive pastoral experience (highlighted by radio/TV ministry, adult education, and church building) impelled him into the academic study of religion. An interest in the renewal of religious community fits well with his sympathies with the public religious literacy efforts of the Westar Institute.

Recent Publications

  • Review of Blake Leyerle, Theatrical Shows and Ascetic Lives: John Chrysostom's Attack on Spiritual Marriage (2001), Church History 71.4 (2002)
  • "Letter of Congratulations," in A Multiform Heritage: Studies on Early Judaism and Christianity in Honor of Robert A. Kraft, ed. B. G. Wright (Homage Series 24; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1999)
  • "Origen's Shadow over the Erasmus-Luther Debate," in Origeniana Sexta: Origen and the Bible (Actes du Colloquium Origenianum Sextum, Chantilly, 1993), ed. G. Dorival and A. Le Boulluec (Leuven: University Press, 1995)
  • Review of Philip R. Amidon, trans., The 'Panarion' of St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis: Selected Passages (1990), Patristics 21:1-2 (1992)
  • "Origen and Corporeality: The Case of Methodius' On the Resurrection," in Origeniana Quinta (Papers of the 5th International Origen Congress, 1989), ed. R. J. Daly (Leuven: Peeters Press, 1992)
  • Review of F. F. Church and T. J. Mulry, eds., The Macmillan Book of Earliest Christian Meditations (1989), Lutheran Quarterly, New Series, 4.4 (1990)
  • Mission West: A History of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC) in the West (1976-87) (Berkeley, CA: Sierra Pacific Synod [ELCA] Archives, 1988)

Academic Credentials

  • B.A., Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
  • M.Div., Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Academic Appointments

  • Lecturer in Biblical studies, Rutgers University, Camden, NJ, 1968-69
  • Fellow, University of Pennsylvania, 1967-68

Pastoral Service

  • Retired, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Sierra Pacific Synod, 1991
  • Interim ministry, Bethany Lutheran Church, Menlo Park, CA, 1980
  • Pastor, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Cleveland, OH, 1969-71
  • Pastor, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Philadelphia, PA, 1965-67
  • Co-Pastor, First Lutheran Church, Omaha, NE, 1960-65
  • Interim ministries at Medford, NJ (1974), Princeton, NJ (1972-73), Warminster, PA (1968-69), Croydon, PA (1967-68), Okawville, IL (1959-60); internships at St. Louis, MO (1958-59), Glen Arbor, MI (1958)

Military Service

  • Chaplain, U.S. Army Reserve, 1961-66