Jaroslav Pelikan

Jaroslav Jan Pelikan (December 17, 1923–May 13, 2006) was a scholar in the history of Christianity, Christian theology and medieval intellectual history. Pelikan was born in Akron, Ohio, to a Slovak father and mother, Jaroslav Jan Pelikan Sr. and Anna Buzekova Pelikan. His father was pastor of Trinity Slovak Lutheran Church in Chicago, Illinois, and his paternal grandfather a bishop of the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches then known as the Slovak Lutheran Church in America. According to family members, Pelikan's mother taught him how to use a typewriter when he was three years old, as he could not yet hold a pen properly but wanted to write. A polyglot, Pelikan's facility with languages may be traced to his multilingual childhood and early training. That linguistic facility was to serve him in the career he ultimately chose (after contemplating becoming a concert pianist)--as a historian of Christian doctrine. He did not confine his studies to Roman Catholic and Protestant theological history, but also embraced that of the Christian East. In 1946 when he was 22, he earned both a seminary degree from Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis, Missouri and a Ph.D.


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