Weyerhaeuser Professor of Biblical Studies, Emeritus
Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, New York

Robert T. Fortna is Weyerhaeuser Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, where he taught for thirty years in the Department of Religion, serving as Chair a number of times. He became a Fellow of the Jesus Seminar in 1986, helped to draft the Scholars Version gospels and, for The Complete Gospels, co-authored the introduction and notes on the Gospel of John and wrote the commentary on the Signs Gospel. He has contributed to Profiles of Jesus (2003) and articles to both The Fourth R and to Forum. Other published articles have appeared in the Journal of Biblical Literature, New Testament Studies, and Interpretation. He has been Annual Professor at the W. F. Albright Archaeological Institute and a Visiting Scholar at the Ecumenical Institute for Advanced Theological Studies (Tantur), both in Jerusalem.



  • The Gospel of Matthew: The Scholars Version Annotated with Introduction and Greek Text. Scholars Bible, 3. Polebridge Press, 2003.
  • The Fourth Gospel and its Predecessor: From Narrative Source to Present Gospel. Philadelphia: Fortress Press,1988; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1989.
  • The Gospel of Signs: A Reconstruction of the Narrative Source Underlying the Fourth Gospel. SNTS Monograph Series, 10. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970.


  • With Tom Thatcher, Jesus and the Johannine Tradition. Louisville KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001.
  • With Beverly R. Gaventa, The Conversation Continues: Studies in Paul and John in Honor of J. Louis Martyn. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1990.
  • With Johannes Beutler, The Shepherd Discourse of John 10 and its Context: Studies by members of the Johannine Writings seminar. SNTS Monograph Series, 67. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Academic Degrees

  • ThD., Union Theological Seminary, NYC
  • M.A., Cambridge University
  • B.D., Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley CA
  • B.A., Yale University

Academic Appointments

  • Weyerhaeuser Professor of Biblical Studies, Vassar College, 1991–1995
  • Professor of Religion, Vassar College, 1974–1991
  • Associate Professor of Religion, Vassar College, 1968–1974
  • Assistant Professor of Religion, Vassar College, 1965–1968
  • Instructor in Religion, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie NY, 1963–1965
  • Tutor/Instructor of Greek, Union Theological Seminary, NYC, 1960–1963
  • Tutor and Lecturer, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley CA, 1955–1960

In Jerusalem

  • Annual Professor, Albright Institute, 1979
  • Visiting Scholar, Ecumenical Institute, 1972, 1978
  • Fellow, American School of Oriental Research, 1967–1968

In South Africa

  • Visiting Professor, College of the Transfiguration, Grahamstown, 1993–1994
  • Visiting Lecturer, St. Bede's College, Umtata, 1990, 1986
  • Visiting Professor, Department of Theology, University of Namibia, Windhoek, 1989

Volunteer lecturer

  • Sing Sing Prison, Ossining NY, 1994–2003
  • Greenhaven Prison, Stormville NY, 2003