Wednesday, 13 March, 2013

Rev. Dr. Joseph G. Muthuraj

Personal Life:
The Rev. Dr. Joseph G. Muthuraj is an eminent faculty in the United Theological College, Bengaluru. He is one of the finest Biblical scholars in India. He was born in the year 1952 and celebrated his 60th birthday in 2012. He is blessed with a beautiful and active wife Mrs. Buelah Muthuraj, who has a keen interest in horticulture and has won several prizes for this. They have a daughter who is in New York and has edited a book titled “Working Class Foodies”, Penguin Publications. She is writing her 2nd book. Dr. Muthuraj's hobby is to ‘work’. Anything is ‘work’ and he wants to be active involving in the activities of the college or church.
After his masters, he did his Ph. D under two Professors- Prof. C. K. Barnett and Prof. Jamen Don at Durham in the U.K. He started his theological journey in 1976 and sees the experience as surprising, happy and moody. 
Engagements in the last academic year (April 2012- March 2013):
            In the month of April, he presented a paper on Ecumenism in India with special reference to the CSI in the ASSISSI conference at Italy. In the period of April – June, he took up the thorough revision of the commentary written on the Acts of the Apostles by Dr. Perry Shaw, making it relevant to the Indian context and adding more scholarly input. It’s a text book for the Master level students of TAFTEE consisting of 450 pages. In the month of July, he prepared a paper on “Leadership in Theological Institutions” and presented it at the Pre council Seminar at the United Theological College on 8th August, 2012. During August and September, he wrote a book entitled “That They May Also Be Sanctified in Truth. John: 17" which is a response to the Moderator's paper on Renewal and Revitalization of CSI, consisting 160 pages and on 3rd November it was released publically at St. Mark’s Cathedral. In the month of November, he presented a paper for the universities in the USA. During December-February, he compiled a Bibliography of 400 writings to write 2 volumes on Indian Christian Theology (What is the meaning of Christian religion in India?).
Memorable Moments:
            There are many but the unforgettable moment is receiving felicitations from friends, colleagues and former teachers on his 60th Birthday (Shastiabthapoorthi). 
Aim and Aspiration:
            To be a better teacher and writer. He wants to write more books and do more research.
Message and Motto:
            The suggestion that he would like to give for upcoming theologians is “Follow Jesus.” 

Phone: 91-9482914675, 91-80-23536390
E mail:,

                                                    Prepared by Ms. Dhivya Priya, BD III.

Views on Dr. Muthuraj in the book released in his honour
Theological teachers pursue their own calling and commitment to articulate the faith and the
witness of the Indian Church amidst heavy teaching responsibilities and administrative work For a good
number of them it is a milestone to reach the 60 birthday of their life and hence it will be a kind gesture on
the part of colleagues, friends and members of the theological fraternity and the fellowship of the Church to
recognize their talent, experience and achievements.

The Rev. Dr. Joseph Gnanaseelan Muthuraj completed 60 years on 17 July 2012. Dr. Muthuraj has spent
almost thirty years as a theological student/educator. He began his theological journey in 1973 after his
secular studies and since then he has regarded every degree as representing a moment of search for selfhood
and truth. Dr. Muthuraj secured his PhD in the field of New Testament from the University of Durham,
UK. His interest in research covers a wide spectrum of theological fields: Biblical Studies (New
Testament), History of Christianity in India, Episcopacy and Indian Ecclesiology, Indian Christian
Theology and Tamil Christian Writings. He has served in Tamilnadu Theological Seminary, Madurai;
Pacific Theological College, Suva, Fiji Islands; Serampore College, Serampore; and the United Theological
College, Bangalore. His recent two volumes on i) Tranquebar Mission in the eighteenth century and ii) the origin and development of the Episcopacy in the Church of South India have drawn national and international
attention. Dr. Muthuraj's present work was written in a short period of time of six weeks. His work on 'Re-evaluating Indian Christian Theology' will be published sometime in the year 2014.

…That They May Also Be Sanctified In Truth
"Dr Joe Muthuraj first visited us in Edinburgh over 10 years ago. The result of that visit has been a lasting
partnership between United Theological College in Bangalore and New College in Edinburgh. Every year
students travel between Bangalore and Edinburgh, each valuing the rich academic and personal experience
which this affords. Our hope is that this will continue for a long time and that it will be complemented by
collaborative research amongst academic staff members.
When on sabbatical leave, Joe and Beulah returned to Edinburgh some years ago, during which time he
worked as a Visiting Fellow at New College and an associate minister in St Giles' Cathedral. His research
resulted in an important two-volume work on the history of episcopacy in the Church of South India. This
has been well received by reviewers and has now been followed by a further monograph which draws upon
his historical work to assesses the current strategy of the CSI.
As Principal of New College, I am delighted to extend my congratulations to Joe on his 60th birthday as a
friend, colleague and partner in theological education."
Prof. David Fergusson FRSE, Professor of Divinity and Principal ofNewCollege, Edinburgh EH1 2LX

"Muthuraj (for that is how I always knew him) was one of those students one never forgets. Always bright
eyed, curious, and asking questions. Never content with the stock answers, and always keen to explore the
merits of new ideas. I taught Muthuraj Greek and New Testament at Union Biblical Seminary, Yavatmal, MS, from 1973-1975. After a lapse of more than thirty five years, I still have vivid and precious memories of his contributions to class discussions. He was always in the top group of students. But more than that, he accepted me as a friend as well as respected teacher. Congratulations, Muthuraj. May you continue to serve the Lord Jesus in the years ahead, at UTCand in the church and nation at large."
Rev. Dr. John W Pryor, BA., BD., MA., ThD,  Melbourne, Australia

'Some students are like sponges, listening to their teachers, hopefully absorbing what is said, but not
reacting much. Others wrestle with ideas, respond and think critically. J.G.Muthuraj was in the second
category when at Union Biblical Seminary, Yavatmal and has gone on thinking and wrestling ever since.
Congratulations on your three score years!'
Rev. Dr. David Wenham, MA., PhD, Tutor inNewTestament, Trinity College, Bristol,UK
"Muthuraj (in his MTh studies) rarely took an obvious and well-trodden path, but always wanted to explore
new ways of looking at things. So, when he took up an examination of the ('in Christ') term used
so frequently by the Apostle Paul, Muthuraj decided that the thought of the fellow-Tamilian Hindu bhakti theologian, Ramanuja, might provide new insights - epistemologically and theologically - into ways of
understanding what Paul meant by our being 'in Christ' (as well as being our fully human selves). First,
though, we did a course going through key schools ( ) and theories in the history of Hindu
Philosophy. The following term we took up the (second half of) the thesis work. Muthuraj must forgive me
for not recalling all the arguments we explored together along this path. For me those tutorial sessions were
certainly highly stimulating and challenging. As those who know him realise, Muthutraj rarely 'pulls his
punches', but rather becomes the more vigorous as a discussion proceeds! During his stay at Durham, UK - to do his doctorate there under Prof. Jimmy Dunn - we met, both at Durham and in Leicester, two or three times. During that time I also met the great Professor C.K. Barrett, then very elderly, who happened to have been at my Devonshire school, set up by the 'Bible Christian' Methodists. Barrett spoke affectionately of his chats with Muthuraj. My wife and I wish Muthuraj (and his 'better half' Beulah) every blessing as he attains the fullness of sixty years. Happy Birthday Muthu!
Rev. Dr. Eric Lott, BD., MLitt., PhD, the former Professor of Religions atUTC,Old Dalby village,UK

It is a great pleasure and a privilege to give this reminiscences tomydearest friend Gnanaseelan.
It is rather difficult to know where to start as I can remember Ganaseelan as far as my school days memory
goes back. Heis like a brother and a philosophical guide. I have always wondered about his depth of knowledge and his curiosity to know more and more. He once read my medical text when he visited me at the Madurai Medical College. After few hours of concentrated reading he just said "If you just put your mind to it and concentrate, nothing is difficult to understand" and he started explaining about what he read. It was by any means a difficult chapter. I was so stunned and still remember that day. Later whenever I had difficulty with my medical lessons I always said to myself "If you just put your mind to it and concentrate, nothing is difficult to understand". I don't know whether he still remembers it. He was so good with physics at the school and also very much interested in philosophy, religious studies and history. He chose his path in religious studies and theology and what a great Pastor he has turned out to be! Gnanaseelan is very kind, helpful and always there for his friends. I can keep on going about him, but the great rush and flooding of feelings are so overwhelming and too much formeto bear. I wish him many more happy and healthy and prosperous years and hope to write my reminiscences once again when he is 100.
Dr. Selvakumar MBBS.,MD.Physician and General Practitioner, Worcester, UK.

At my age, which I will not disclose, memories dissolve, names escape, but a few people are
unforgettable. Despite the short time the Muthuraj family were in Fiji at the Pacific Theological College (PTC), the friendship based on Christ-like gentleness and openness that was offered us by Muthuraj (as we called him) has remained with us. Because PTC is an ecumenical College, Sundays are free to allow each to attend the worship place of their choice. Muthuraj chose the little Church of St Luke's in one of Suva's suburbs and his presence among our little congregation was an inspiration. In Bible study discussion groups he always listened attentively and with appreciation to everyone's contribution, no matter how small or ignorant. At the end he would gently add some special words that would send us away enriched by his insights culled from his scholarship and his experiences in a different Church and culture. His wonderful sense of fun and good humour was much appreciated by us all. Both Murray and myself send our very best wishes for the celebration of 60 years, with prayers that many more years of good health may be granted to Muthuraj, and at the same time we extend warm wishes to Beulah and the childrennowgrown to unrecognizable adulthood!
Tessa and Murray Mackenzie, Suva, Fiji Islands

I have several good memories of Joe's time in Durham – long discussions which produced new insights
for both of us, and social evenings when postgraduates and their families contributed international
specialities to the feast. A particularly treasured memory is when Joe's PhD oral examination (viva)
followed that of his brother's within a few days – and both came through with flying colours – great
rejoicing all round. I just hope that his more recent interest in matters ecclesiological will not take him
too far from the New Testament, though, since I now live in Chichester, I can say wholeheartedly that
anyone who resonates positively with George Bell (former Bishop of Chichester) strikes a chord with
Prof. J. D. G. Dunn, MA,BD, PhD,DD,Professor Emeritus, Durham University,UK

I have very fond memories of Professor Joseph Muthuraj (who will always be Joe to me) from our days
as postgraduates at Durham University. We were both in St John's College, and both shared the same
supervisor, Prof Jimmy Dunn. The St John's postgrads rallied round Joe before and after his family
came over: helping him to buy bags of rice, talking about our projects, and introducing him to the
college social activities. He was the leader of our little group, always ready to offer advice and
encouragement (we even called him the Chief!). Its hard to think that that is all twenty years ago, and
even harder to imagine that Joe is now 60! I'm glad to see that his career has prospered, and wish him all
the best for his birthday!
Dr. Helen Bond MTheol., PhD, Senior Lecturer,NewCollege, Edinburgh,UK

I am very glad to express my heart felt gratitude to my Supervisor and Guide Rev. Dr. J.G. Muthuraj for his constant encouragement and support throughout my doctoral study. He is a very committed professional University Teacher of the New Testament. He is a wealth of Knowledge and experience. He has greatly inspired not only me but also many other New Testament students all over India and abroad. I particularly laud his keen interest in interacting with the students. I firmly believe that his exuberant personality and insights always set a bright and glorious path for his students.
Rev. Dr. V. Manikya Rao, BD., MTh., DTh, Professor inNewTestament, A.C.T.C., Hyderabad.

I consider it an honour and privilege to write a few words on Rev. Dr. J. G. Muthuraj. I am one of those
fortunate ones to have learnt preliminary Greek from him during my BDstudies at Serampore College.
I recall with gratitude to God that learning Greek was one of the pleasant moments during those initial
years of theological studies. His simple methodology coupled with his mastery over the language, and
brilliant teaching skills made a significant contribution to students like me. His encouragement helped
me and several others to go a long way. It is because of his teaching that instilled a love for the Greek
language in me, which in the later years helped me to choose New Testament, as the specialized area of
my studies and teaching. My sincere thanks to him and it is my prayer that God will continue to use
him greatly in the coming days and years. My regards and honour for the great lady who continues to remain by his side, and whose silent yet visible contribution has made a tremendous impact in Dr. Muthuraj's ministry. The beautiful garden that adorns your surrounding is a life-giving testimony of her tending and loving spirit. It is a beautiful reminder of God who is our Gardener, pruning and tending every plant so that each will bear much fruit. At this moment when we give thanks for my teacher and guide, Madam's contribution also needs acknowledgement.
Rev. Priscilla Papiya Durairaj, DTh (NT) student

Prof. Dr. Joseph Muthuraj, was our postgraduate teacher in 1997 at UTC, who challenged us in many
ways and equipped us to see new perspectives and patterns in the NT scholarship. Since 1999 we have
been part of Biblical studies department at UTC as colleagues, searching the meaning of the scripture
through mutual sharing and research. He is an inspiring teacher, perfect academician and innovative
guide in the field. I wish him all the very best and God's blessings.
Rev. Dr. C. I. David Joy, BSc., BD., MTh.,PhDProfessor in NewTestament,UTC,Bangalore.

Prof. Dr. Joseph Muthuraj was my senior colleague since the year 2000 at UTC. He inspired me
through his comprehensive and pastoral approach in all that he does in academic and non-academic
pursuits.Acolleague with passion for academic rigor and kind in heart as a person and friend fighting a
consistent battle for restoring justice in the administrative system at UTC. I congratulate him on this
auspicious occasion and wish him that he will achievemany more milestones.
Rev. Dr. K. Jesurathnam, BSc., BD., MTh.,PhDProfessor in Old Testament,UTC,Bangalore.

It is a matter of joy to celebrate the life and witness of Prof. Dr. J.G. Muthuraj, as his youngest colleague in the  department. One of the beautiful gifts of a teacher is to see another shaping into one, and I thank
Dr. Muthuraj for contributing immensely tomyfirst steps as a Teacher, which he continues to do with
grace and elegance. My admiration for him is for his 'academic integrity,' among other things. I wish
God's blessings and Shanti to him and Madam, as in the Indian tradition of celebrating Shasti.
Rev. Dr. Dexter S. Maben, BA., MA., PGDHRM., BD., Dr. Theol., Associate
Professor of NewTestament,UTC,Bangalore.

“Dr. Muthuraj is one of the finest biblical scholars that India has produced. His profound knowledge of
biblical texts, openness to new methods of reading, and academic commitment make him a great
scholar. I am proud to be one among his many students. I congratulate him on his 60th birthday and
wish him all the best in his theological journey.”
L.H. Rawsea

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