Dean Garland Honored with Festschrift

Dean Garland
Todd Still, Ph.D., the William M. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures, (left) announces the production of a Festschrift in honor of David E. Garland, Ph.D., dean of George W. Truett Theological Seminary (right). Photo courtesy of Ruth Bryan.
Sept. 4, 2013

Follow us on Twitter: @BaylorUMediaCom

Media contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (Sept. 3, 2013) - Scholars tend to be known as never having enough to say. It's not too often that one is rendered speechless.

But that's exactly what happened to David E. Garland, Ph.D., dean of Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, when it was announced at the seminary's convocation on Tuesday, Aug. 27, that he would be honored with a Festschrift.

A Festschrift, a German term meaning "festival writing," is "a collection of academic writings that honor an esteemed, accomplished academic senior scholar, usually at an important turning point in his or her academic career," said Todd Still, Ph.D., the William M. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures. Garland's Festschrift, when published, will be entitled "Texts and Contexts: Gospels and Pauline Studies and Sermons in Honor of David E. Garland."

"Honor to whom honor is due, respect to whom respect is due," Still said.

Still, who organized Garland's Festschrift, admires Garland not only for his academic and professional work, but on a personal level as well. Twenty years ago, Still was using Garland's work in his classroom while teaching at Dallas Baptist University. And after guest-lecturing in Still's classroom, Garland invited him to interview for a position at Baylor University.

"I feel a great deal of gratitude to him for initiating and enabling that process," Still said. "Although Dean Garland was not my teacher per se, I learned much from him."

"I was very interested in bringing (Still) to our faculty," Garland said. "And I think that judgment has been proven by his incredible contributions, not only as a teacher at this seminary but as a very productive scholar."

Still and contributors to the Festschrift managed to keep the project hidden from Garland for more than a year. "Fortunately the folks that I enlisted know how to keep a secret," Still joked.

"The goal was to surprise him and honor him in a public venue, so as to draw attention to his contribution, to his discipline and to theological education," Still said. So when Garland received a framed outline of the writings to be published in his Festschrift, he was "stunned. Overwhelmed. I mean gob-smacked. When asked if he had a word to say, he said 'I am speechless.'"

Garland said he was even a bit tearful when the announcement was made. "I was completely surprised and overwhelmed. I did not expect it, I did not feel like I deserved it."

Twenty scholars will contribute articles and sermons to the Festschrift, all of whom are Garland's peers, colleagues or former students.

"When I found out who contributed to it - friends, not only scholars - I was stunned," Garland said.

"These are not just names chosen at random -- it's not just a grab bag," Still said. "Every person is chosen for a particular reason, and every person has a connection with the honoree in one way or another."

The Festschrift will be published by Baylor University Press. "I am exceedingly grateful to the press and its director, Dr. Carey C. Newman, for its willingness to invest in this thick of a volume," Still said. Royalties from it will be put toward a scholarship fund.

"David has done a lot. There are very few Baptist New Testament scholars who have done what he has done," Still said. "He's a rare breed."

Garland is Truett seminary's fourth dean and holder of The Charles J. and Eleanor McLerran Delancey Chair of the Dean and Professor of Christian Scriptures. He also served as interim president of Baylor University from August 2008 until May 2010. He has authored, co-authored and edited 20 books and published more than 50 articles. He also has served as interim pastor of 16 churches in Kentucky, Indiana and Texas.

by Rachel Miller, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary provides theological education leading to the Master of Divinity, the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, the Master of Theological Studies, or the Doctor of Ministry degrees that are centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ and consistent with historic Baptist commitments to prepare persons to carry this gospel to the churches and the world. Within the M.Div. degree program, students can choose concentrations in Biblical Studies and Theology, Christian Education, Ministry Leadership, Missions and World Christianity, Worship Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Sports Ministry, and Youth/Family/Student Ministry. Truett Seminary also offers three Dual Degree programs - a M.Div./MSW and MTS/MSW through a partnership with Baylor's School of Social Work, a M.Div./Master of Music through a partnership with the Baylor's School of Music, and a M.Div./MBA through a partnership with Baylor's Hankamer School of Business. Visit to learn more.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?