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Pokorný Petr

Prof., ThDr., DrSc., Dr. h. c. mult.
Born April 21, 1933 in Brno, † 2020 

  • Biblical Studies: New Testament, hermeneutics
  • Greek literature of late antiquity
  • Member of Learned Society since 2003 (2012- President)

Educational and professional preparation

  • 1943-1951, Classical secondary school, Brno;
  • 1951, began study of Protestant theology (Comenius faculty) and extra mural
    study of Greek literature (Charles University, with prof. K. Svoboda);
  • 1959, thesis submitted (defense was not allowed), ThDr. in 1963;
  • 1958, two months of studies in Bonn;
  • 1964 one term in Oxford (New Testament and Coptic) and for a half term research in the Haardt Institute for Classical Studies;
  • 1967, habilitation in New Testament exegesis;
  • 1968, dissertation in Greek literature (CSc.);
  • 1970, Associated professor and 1972 Professor, Protestant theological faculty, Prague;
  • 1978, member, Nag Hammadi III expedition in Upper Egypt;
  • 1986-1987 and 1992, for two terms visiting professor in Pittsburgh, PA
    (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and 1986 Duquesne University) and teacher
    Summer School for Postgraduates, Princeton Theological Seminary;
  • 1988-89, substitute professor at University Tübingen, 1995-1995 and 1999
    Research fellow there;
  • 1993, DrSc. in Greek literature;
  • 2003, Fellow of the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, NJ, and 2003-
    2004 and 2007, resident research fellow there;
  • 2005 series of lectures opening the curriculum of the Biblical Institute at the
    Philological Faculty of the St. Petersburgh State University;
  • 2006 summer term, research at the Aristotelian University in Thessaloniki;
  • 2010 winter term, research fellow in Forschungszentrum für internationale und
    interdisziplinäre Theologie (Heidelberg University).

Employment and academic positions

  • 1957-1967 minister of Protestant Church (Czech Brethren) in Prague
  • 1967-1968 lecturer at the University of Greifswald (Germany)
  • 1968-1999 full time teaching at the Faculty of Protestant Theology in Prague (since 1990 included into Charles University), 1995-1998 dean.
  • 1999 part time professor at the Faculty and Senior research fellow (2001-2010 director) of the Center of Biblical Studies of the Academy of Sciences and Charles University in Prague

Membership in selected domestic scientific bodies

  • 1962-1985, Member of the working group for the Czech Ecumenical Bible
  • 1998-2002, Member, Council of the Government of Czech Republic for
    Research and Development

Membership and positions in international organizations and societies

  • since 1967, Member (1994-1995 President), Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas;
  • 1979-1996, Member (1991-1996 Chairman) of the Scholarly Forum of the United Bible Societies

Notable awards

  • 1985, Silver Medal of the Roman Catholic Church for the Ecumenical Bible translation
  • 1995, Humboldt Award (for lifelong work)
  • 1995, Foreign Member, Academy of Sciences in Göttingen (Germany)
  • 1998, Dr. h. c. University in Bonn
  • 1999, Award, Minister of Education (for research)
  • 2000, Dr. h. c. Karólyi University in Budapest
  • 2004, Josef Dobrovský medal of the Academy of Sciences
  • 2005, State Award for Merits
    Volumes in honour of PP
    1988 EΠITOAYTO I. - Czech articles, II - English and German articles.
    ETF UK and Mlýn: Praha – Třebenice, 1998
    Testimony and Interpretation. Early Christology in Its Judaeo-Hellenistic
    Milieu, ed. by J. Mrázek and J. Roskovec (JSNTSSS 272), London – New
    York: T. & T. Clark International, 2004
    Comenius medal, Protestant Faculty of Charles University
  • 2013 Award SVU
  • 2015 Dr. h. c. St. Petersbourg State University

Selected publications

  • Počátky gnose (Beginnings of Gnosticism), Prague: Academia, 1968 (2nd ed. 1969)
  • Die Entstehung des Christologie, Berlin: EVA, 1986; lic. Stuttgart: Calwer; 1985; English Translation Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1987; paperback ibid. 1997, Czech translation Praha: Kalich, 1988
  • Der Brief der Paulus an die Kolosser (ThHKNT 10/1), Berlin: EVA, 1978, 2nd ed. 1990; English Translation: Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1991
  • Der Brief des Paulus an die Epheser (ThHKNT 10/2). Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt 1992, XXIV + 265 s.; improved 2nd ed. 2013
  • Theologie der lukanischen Schriften (FRLANT 174), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 1998
  • (co-author U. Heckel) Einleitung in das Neue Testament. Seine Literatur und Theologie im Überblick (UTB), Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 2007; Russian translation 2012, Czech transl. 2013
  • Hermeneutics as a Theory of Understanding, Grand Rapids, MI – Cambridge,
    U.K.: Eerdmans, 2011, Czech version Praha: Vyšehrad, 2005
  • A Commentary on the Gospel of Thomas (JChTC – 5), New York – London:
    T. & T. Clark International,f 2009, paperback reprint 2012
  • From the Gospel to the Gospels. History, Theology and impact of the biblical term „euangelion“, BZNW 195) Berlin - Boston: De Gruyter 2013
  • Jesus in Geschichte und Bekenntnis, WUNT 355, Tübingen: Mohr – Siebeck 2016

Member of the editorial board of the New Testament Studies (Cambridge) 1980–1983 a 1993–1996; since 1998 member of the editorial advisory panel of the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism (Los Angeles), 99 articles, translations, textbooks, popular publications, reviews

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Reaction to the case of Tomáš Hudlický: Members of the Learned Society of the Czech Republic support the freedom of expression

„We believe that free exchange of ideas is a key condition for the pursuit of truth and that the honest opinions should be scrutinized, challenged or rebutted but not censored or suppressed,“ say 45 members of the Learned Society in a statement regarding the retracted opinion paper by Prof. Tomáš Hudlický.


The letter by Jan Konvalinka to the President and Vice-Chancellor of the Brock University regarding the retracted article of Prof. Tomáš Hudlický

Opinions could and should be challenged, questioned or refuted but never silenced. In order to be able to think, we have to have the right to inquire, question and even offend or be mistaken,” writes Assoc. Prof. Jan Konvalinka, a biochemist at the IOCB Prague and the Vice-Rector of the Charles University, to Gervan Fearon.


Prof Miroslav Bárta receives the Česká hlava National Government Award

Learned Society member, Prof. Mgr. Miroslav Bárta, Dr. (Charles University Faculty of Arts) received the Česká hlava (Czech Head) National Government Award on 25 November 2019. A renowned Czech Egyptologist and archaeologist, Professor Bárta researches the history of ancient civilisations, the human relationship to the natural environment, and also for many years the evolution of complex societies. He leads the Czech Institute of Egyptology for archaeological and environmental research in Egypt and Sudan. His principal research interest is the period of the pyramid builders of the Old Kingdom.