Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

M.Div., Concordia Seminary, St. Louis

B.A., Concordia Seminary, St. Louis

Jon F. Dechow

Independent Scholar, Portola 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

  • Forum Essay (with Robin Darling Young and David Maldonado Rivera, with responses by Andrew S. Jacobs, Epiphanius of Cyprus: A Cultural Biography of Late Antiquity (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2016); and Young Richard Kim, Epiphanius of Cyprus: Imagining an Orthodox World (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2015); developed from SBL San Antonio “Development of Early Christian Theology Section: Two Recent Books on Epiphanius of Cyprus,” 20 November 2016; in Catholic Historical Review 3 (2018), 528—540
  • “The Nag Hammadi Milieu: An Assessment in the Light of the Origenist Controversies (with Appendix 2015),” AAR Western Region, Annual Meeting, Stanford University 26 March 1982; reprint and update 11—51 in The Nag Hammadi Codices and Late Antique Egypt, ed. Hugo Lundhaug and Lance Jenott; STAC 110 (Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018); contains the “Origenist theory” of Nag Hammadi Codices’ provenience
  • “Methodius’ Conceptual World in His Treatise De resurrectione,” in Methodius of Olympus: State of the Art and New Perspectives, ed. Katharina Bracht; TU 178 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017), 125—148; contains the “new risen body” of Origen of Alexandria, correctly following Paul (1 Cor 15:35—58; 2 Cor 5:1—10; Phil 1:22—24), but opposed by Methodius

Academic Appointments

  • Lecturer in Biblical studies, Rutgers University, Camden, NJ, 1968—1969
  • Fellow, University of Pennsylvania, 1967—1968

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—1971
  • Pastor, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Philadelphia, PA, 1965—1967
  • Co-Pastor, First Lutheran Church, Omaha, NE, 1960—1965
  • Interim ministries at Medford, NJ (1974), Princeton, NJ (1972—1973), Warminster, PA (1968—1969), Croydon, PA (1967–1968), Okawville, IL (1959—1960); internships at St. Louis, MO (1958—1959), Glen Arbor, MI (1958)

Military Service

  • Chaplain, U.S. Army Reserve, 1961–1966