Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 612

MacRae, George W. Papers, 1955-1985.


Papers of Catholic priest George MacRae, including teaching material, academic records, translation projects, lectures, addreses, essays, and correspondence. The papers span 1955-1985.


  • Creation: 1955-1985.


Student records in this collection are restricted for 75 years from the date of their creation. Other records may also be restricted. Contact the curator of manuscripts and archives for further details


8 boxes

The collection is divided into the following six series: Series I. Teaching materials: includes syllabi, student papers, examinations. Series II. Academic records: includes committee records and student advisee records. Series III. Professional activities: includes records of professional organizations which MacRae belonged to, and also documents his responsibilities as editor for a number of journals. Series IV. Translation projects: Nag Hammadi, Revised Standard Version Bible, etc. Series V. Lectures, addresses, essays, articles Series IV. Correspondence

Biographical / Historical

George W. MacRae (1928-1985) was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, and joined the Society of Jesus in 1948. He received his PhL from Louvain in 1954 and his AM from Johns Hopkins University in 1957. He was ordained a priest in 1960, and taught at the Weston School of Theology where he received his STL in 1961, and Cambridge University, where he earned a doctorate in New Testament studies and the history of religions in 1966. His dissertation was on the relation of Jewish apocalyptic thought to Gnostic literature.

MacRae was an internationally known scholar in the field of New Testament studies. He led courses and seminars on Gnosticism, the Gospel of John, the Letter to the Hebrews, and the biblical roots of Roman Catholic theology. He assisted in the translation and interpretation of The Nag Hammadi Library (1977) and also worked with Jewish, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant scholars in revising the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. He taught at the Fairfield Preparatory School in Connecticut from 1954 to 1956, Weston School of Theology from 1966 to 1973, and Harvard Divinity School from 1973 to 1985, where he was the first tenured Charles Chauncy Stillman Professor of Roman Catholic Studies. He served as rector of the Ecumenical Institute for Theological Research in Tantur, Jerusalem, from 1979 to 1980, and was appointed Acting Dean of Harvard Divinity School in 1985.

MacRae was the founder and editor of the journal New Testament Abstracts, and worked on the editorial boards of many journals and monograph series, including Harvard Theological Review. He was also a member of many professional and scholarly societies, and was the first Roman Catholic to be appointed executive secretary of the Society of Biblical Literature (1973-1976). He was chair of the Harvard University Council/Committee on the Study of Religion (1977-1982), and of the Harvard Divinity School Committee on Advanced Degrees.


Organized into the following series:

  1. Series I. Teaching material, 1966-1985
  2. Series II. Academic records, 1962-1985
  3. Series III. Professional activities 1955-1985
  4. Series IV. Translation projects, 1970-1985
  5. Series V. Lectures, addresses, essays, articles, 1962-1985
  6. Series IV. Correspondence, 1968-1985
MacRae, George W. Papers, 1955-1985: A Finding Aid.
Andover-Harvard Theological Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Divinity School Library, Harvard University Repository

Special Collections at Harvard Divinity School Library preserves and makes accessible primary source materials documenting the history of religion and theology, with particular historical emphasis on American liberal religious traditions. Though the historical strengths of the collections have been in the field of Christianity, other religious traditions are increasingly reflected, in step with Harvard Divinity School's evolving focus on global religious studies. Known as Andover-Harvard Theological Library since 1911, it was renamed the Harvard Divinity School Library in 2021.

45 Francis Avenue
Cambridge MA 02138-1911 USA
(617) 496-2485