Marilyn McCord Adams (1943-2017)


Marilyn McCord Adams, a philosopher who held appointments at Rutgers University, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Yale University, UCLA, and Oxford (as the first and only woman to be the Regius Professor of Divinity), has died.

Professor Adams was known for her work in philosophy of religion and medieval philosophy. Her books included academic monographs such as Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of GodChrist and Horrors: The Coherence of Christology, and Some Later Medieval Theories of the Eucharist: Thomas Aquinas, Giles of Rome, Duns Scotus, and William Ockham. Adams was also a priest in the Episcopal Church, and authored a book of sermons called Wrestling for Blessing and a book of prayers called Opening to God.

She was married to philosopher R.M. Adams (UNC Chapel Hill).

Here is a brief video of Professor Adams discussing the problem of evil:

There is some more information about her work here.

 

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Michael Barnwell
Michael Barnwell
4 years ago

Marilyn was a great teacher & mentor who often went even farther than ‘over and above’ for her students. Her class notes are priceless, and her love for her subject and students is surpassed by none. The same can be said for the precision with which she explained and examined arguments. She is without question one of the ‘greats’ of our time and will be sorely missed.Report

Sara L. Uckelman
4 years ago

Oh, no!Report

Elliott Sober
4 years ago

A few years ago, I wrote Marilyn out of the blue to ask her for help in understanding Ockham’s views about parsimony. She and I had never met, but she responded very generously. We exchanged several emails. I was impressed by her kindnness and cheerfulness, as well as by her philosophical clarity.Report

Stephen Lahey
Stephen Lahey
4 years ago

This is very sad, Marilyn was both a brilliant philosopher and scholar, and a caring and loving priest. She was always gracious and encouraging of younger students of medieval philosophy and theology, and provided a model for Christian philosophers of consistent analytic thought imbued with reverence for the movement of grace in creation.Report

John-Christopher Wells
4 years ago

The Reverend Doctor once reassured me that Clinical Theology was not an oxymoron as she introduced me as such at a UCLA Center for Religious Studies Conference. New Birth.Report

Audrey Woodsmith
Audrey Woodsmith
4 years ago

She was my teacher at UCLA, and she was a very important friend and mentor to me. She helped me through a difficult time in my life, and she was there to celebrate the good times as well. She, along with her dear husband, Bob, was a welcoming host. She was so kind and constant. An excellent cook. A brilliant mind. A loving, creative, beautiful, inspired caregiver and leader. My daughter is Lhasa Marilyn – after her. Bob, I am so sorry for your loss. I just heard and am devastated.Report

Felicia Nimue Ackerman
Felicia Nimue Ackerman
4 years ago

Marilyn was a graduate student at the university where I got my B.A. She was on the faculty at the university where I got my Ph.D, and she was also on the faculty of a university where I was a visiting assistant professor. I’m a lifelong atheist, so of course we looked at some things very differently. But she had one of the most brilliant and original minds I ever encountered. Moreover, she supported gays and lesbians at a time and in a milieu when it took a lot of courage to do so. Last but not least, she made the best chocolate cookies I have ever eaten.Report