Remembering Rabbi David Winston

Remembering Rabbi David Winston

Rabbi David Winston, author, professor, and former director of the Center for Jewish studies at the Graduate Theological Union, passed away this month. He will be remembered as a leader with a mission to make Jewish voices heard in the GTU community and beyond.  

Winston was a dedicated leader and teacher within the GTU community, particularly through his work as co-founder of the Center for Jewish Studies (CJS). Winston’s career with the GTU began as Professor of Hellenistic and Judaic Studies in 1966. When the GTU inaugurated the Center for Jewish Studies in 1968, Winston was an essential part of its inception.  

Winston was quoted as saying that it is important for GTU seminarians to have “live contact with Jewish scholarship,” which was a mission he pursued throughout his career. Winston was the first professor at the CJS. Later he became the director of the CJS and stayed until his retirement in 1995.  

Prior to his work with CJS, he was ordained a rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1955. In 1987, Jewish Theological Seminary would also award him with an honorary doctorate. At Columbia University, he received both his MA and PhD in Greek and Latin. He returned to Columbia University in 1958 to teach these same subjects. In 1960, he took on a role at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, where he served as Associate Professor of Rabbinic and Hellenistic Literature. 

He was a visiting professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 1970 to 1971 and was a research fellow at its Institute for Advanced Studies on Mt. Scopus in 1976, as well as the American Academy for Jewish Research in 1976.  He was twice awarded the National Endowment for the Humanities senior fellowship in 1978 and again in 1986. He served as a member and a trustee of the Philo Institute and was the director of the Philo Project, a joint initiative between UCB and GTU, from 1976 to 1978. He also served as President for the Pacific Coast section of the Society for Biblical Literature.   

Winston authored a number of publications, including:  The Wisdom of Solomon;  Philo of Alexandria: The Contemplative Life, The Giants, and Selections; and  Logos and Mystical Theology in Philo of Alexandria

A funeral service for Rabbi Winston will take place on Monday, December 19 at 1:15pm at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, CA.  

May Rabbi Winston’s memory be a blessing.