“In Memory of Ralph P. Martin” by Jon Pott

On February 25, 2013, biblical scholar Ralph P. Martin* passed away following a two-year battle with lymphoma. He was 87 years old.

A former professor of New Testament and director of the Graduate Studies Program at Fuller Theological Seminary, Martin published a number of books with Eerdmans during his distinguished career. 

Recalling with appreciation Eerdmans’s long publishing relationship with Martin, editor in chief Jon Pott has written the following tribute.

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Eerdmans owes a great debt to a very distinguished heritage of older British New Testament scholars, of whom F. F. Bruce, I suppose, was the father figure (though one can think of antecedents even before him).

Worship in the Early Church
Worship in the Early Church

With the passing of Ralph P. Martin, a much beloved figure in our publishing history, we have now lost another member of that distinguished line.  Like a number of other British evangelical scholars of that vintage, Ralph spent much of his career in North America, where he was for many years a colleague of Geoffrey Bromiley, another British mainstay in the Eerdmans program.

Though Ralph wrote a number of important books for us, I suppose that the most influential were the two volumes of his New Testament Foundations, which in their original and revised editions were textbooks that schooled countless seminarians and pastors.  But perhaps his most enduring book, still in print on our list, is his Worship in the Early Church, first published in England in 1965 and appearing on the Eerdmans list in 1975, a little classic that could be seen as a seminal work in what has become an important line of worship books in the Eerdmans program.

In paying tribute to Ralph, whom we all knew as a wonderfully diligent man as well as a splendid scholar, I should also note his intrepid role as the unofficial but ubiquitous reviewer of New Testament books in The Reformed Journal — this owing to James Daane, the book review editor of the magazine and, yes, another colleague at Fuller.  Jim’s virtual reflex, book after book, was to defer to Ralph for New Testament expertise.  He could hardly have done better.

Click to read Fuller Theological Seminary’s obituary for Ralph P. Martin or to view the complete list of Martin’s books currently in print with Eerdmans. 

*Ralph P. Martin should not be confused with Ralph Martin, author of the 2012 book Will Many Be Saved?, who is alive and well.