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Bethel College Mourns Loss of Biblical Scholar

Professor of Old Testament and Scholar-in-Residence Eugene Carpenter, Ph.D., passed away July 2, 2012, while fishing by himself in Michigan. He was 69 years old.

Visitation will take place on Friday, July 6 from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Everest/Rohrer Auditorium on Bethel’s campus. The funeral service will be held on Saturday, July 7 at 11 a.m., also in the Everest/Rohrer Auditorium. Friends may visit one hour prior to the service.

"Gene was like the many giant oak trees that dot Bethel's campus in that we never expect them to fall. But this one has, and the entire Bethel family will greatly miss the shade of his influence in our lives," says President Steven R. Cramer, Ph.D. 

Carpenter taught at Bethel for 26 years, during which time he served as chair of religion and philosophy and director of graduate studies. Most recently, he was scholar-in-residence and director of the master of ministries/master of arts in theological studies programs. He graduated from Bethel in 1970 with a B.A. in Biblical Literature and English Literature with a minor in Greek. He earned a Master of Divinity in 1973 from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries (AMBS) and a Ph.D. in Old Testament and Semitic Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1979. 

In addition to teaching at Bethel, Carpenter served on the faculties of Wheaton College and Graduate School and Asbury Theological Seminary. He also taught at AMBS, Fuller Theological Seminary and Lexington Theological Seminary. 

Carpenter’s scholarly writing includes some 21 published volumes (nine translations of biblical books and 12 other works); major contributions to two study Bibles (New Living Translation; The Wesley Study Bible); and numerous dictionary, encyclopedia and journal articles. Recent titles include a commentary on the Book of Daniel (Tyndale), a commentary on Deuteronomy (New Illustrated Bible Background Commentary Series: Zondervan) and a searchable electronic translation of the prophet Ezekiel for the Lexham English Bible Project. 

Carpenter was involved in church ministry nearly all of his life in various ways, including positions as youth ministry director, assistant pastor and senior pastor. He did missions work in the Dominican Republic and served as a guest teacher regularly in Sunday schools across different denominations. He repeatedly led academic study trips to Jerusalem University College in Israel for undergraduate, graduate and adult students. His hobbies included woodworking, travel, hiking, fishing, reading, writing and weight training. His wife, Joyce D. Carpenter, served as an adjunct professor of ceramics and pottery at Bethel College for six years; she continues as an artist, working primarily with clay. She too is a graduate of Bethel College (B.A.) with a major in art. 

Bethel College is an accredited Christian college offering associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in more than 70 areas of study. The current enrollment of more than 2,100 includes students from 34 states and Puerto Rico, 19 countries, more than 25 denominations and 16 percent from culturally diverse backgrounds. Scholarships are available based upon a variety of factors including academic achievement, talent in the arts or athletics, ethnicity and church affiliation. In addition to its beautifully wooded 75-acre main campus in Mishawaka, Ind., Bethel also offers specific academic programs at sites in Elkhart, Ind., Fort Wayne, Ind., Dowagiac, Mich., and St. Joseph, Mich. Nursing programs are also offered in cooperation with Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind.