WACO (August 13, 2013)--The Baylor community is mourning the death of Visiting Distinguished Professor of Religion and Public Life Jean Bethke Elshtain Ph.D. who passed away on Sunday at age 72.
Elshtain served as the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, and spoke publicly at numerous universities and colleges nationwide.
An ethicist, political philosopher, and public intellectual, Elshtain “produced new scholarship at the intersection of religion and public life while working alongside Baylor faculty and students” and appealed to students and professors with two inspiring university-wide lectures, “The Ups and Downs of a Christian Philosopher” in 2011 and “The Dark Knight and the Saint: Reflections on Batman and St. Augustine” in 2012.
Elshtain was the author of “Women and War,” an exploration of the traditional status of women as noncombatants, and “Augustine and the Limits of Politics,” among many others.
Awards received were the Goodnow Award in 2002, the highest award bestowed by the American Political Science Association for distinguished service to the profession, and the Democracy Service Award in 2011 by the National Endowment for Democracy. The award recognizes individuals that have made significant contributions to the progress of democracy around the world.
“Not only was Professor Elshtain the recipient of just about every honor an academic in the humanities can receive, but she was a deeply caring mother and grandmother and a staunch defender of American ideals of freedom against foes from both inside and outside the United States,” Arts and Sciences Political Science Associate Professor David Corey said.
“Baylor University was extraordinarily privileged to have this brilliant Christian scholar join our faculty nearly two years ago as a visiting professor, but ‘visiting’ was anything but for Professor Elshtain… our prayers are with her family, who truly were the inspiration for her prolific body of scholarly work that focused on themes of democracy, ethical dilemmas, religion and politics, and international relations,” Baylor Executive Vice President Elizabeth Davis said.