Grief & Loss, Obituaries — October 1, 2019 at 11:48 am

Dr. Cain Hope Felder, Biblical Scholar, Dead at 76

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Educating African-American clergy was one of the primary concerns of the founders of Howard University. Although Howard has provided stellar theological education for clergy and laypersons since its founding in 1867, it has not developed a Ph.D. program in religious studies. Such a doctoral program would be the first of its kind at a historically Black theological school. It will be the crown jewel of the life and legacy of Dr. Cain Hope Felder.
Educating African-American clergy was one of the primary concerns of the founders of Howard University that passed away on October 1, 2019. Although Howard has provided stellar theological education for clergy and laypersons since its founding in 1867, it has not developed a Ph.D. program in religious studies. Such a doctoral program was the first of its kind at a historically Black theological school. It was the crown jewel of the life and legacy of Dr. Cain Hope Felder.

Born: June 9, 1943 in Aiken, South Carolina, U.S.
Died: October 1, 2019  at the age of 76 in Mobile, Alabama, U.S.
Religion: Christianity (Methodist)
Church: United Methodist Church, African Methodist Episcopal Church

Rev. Dr. Cain Hope Felder, a prominent biblical scholar who was the former dean for many years of Howard University’s School of Divinity died at the age of 76 in Mobile, Alabama, U.S. Although Felder retired from his teaching post at Howard in 2016, he remained active with the university community. Felder taught within the Department of Biblical Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary from 1978 to 1981. Prior to Princeton, Felder worked as the first executive director of Black Methodists for Church Renewal (1969 to 1972), the black caucus of the United Methodist Church, which was headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Originally ordained as an elder in the United Methodist Church, he served as pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in New York City (1975–1977). Until his death, Felder served as an elder in the Second Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, where he was appointed by Bishop Adam Jefferson Richardson as the resident biblical scholar for the district.

“I don’t know if I could have been more productive as a scholar in any other place but here,” Felder told the Howard University magazine in 2016. “Because, in a genuine sense, I really felt so relieved to be back in D.C., to be here at Howard.”

His publications include True to Our Native Land (Augsburg Fortress, May, 2007); Troubling Biblical Waters: Race, Class, and Family (Orbis Books, 1989) – 16th printing; and The Original African Heritage Study Bible (Winston Publishing Company, 1993).

Felder held Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy degrees in biblical languages and literature from Columbia University in New York; a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York; a Diploma of Theology from Mansfield College at the University of Oxford in England; a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy, Greek, and Latin from Howard University in Washington, DC. He received his secondary education at the Boston Latin School.

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