Asbury Loses A Beloved Professor: Dr. Robert A. Traina

One of Wesleyanism's most beloved and formative exegetes, a mover and shaker in the field of biblical studies, methodism and among the community of Asbury Theological Seminary, Robert A. Traina passed away this week. While Traina was known among many for his influential teachings / works on Methodical Bible Study, it is probably fair to say that his reach extended far beyond those who ever met him. Indeed, Traina's IBS (Inductive Bible Study) methodology has influenced generations of great scholars and has infiltrated the core of many seminary curricula.

Many of my current professors such as David Bauer, Joe Dongell, Fred Long and Lawson Stone have sat at the feet of Traina and all of them have influenced me greatly. The maxim that we all stand upon the shoulders of others is certainly true! Lawson Stone tells a great story about his time at Yale University studying with Brevard Childs. He says that Childs always kept a copy of Traina's work handy and that in fact, it may be the case that Childs is responsible for wearing out every copy of Traina's work that Yale owned! Again, this man's influence is far greater than we may ever know.

So, here at Asbury we celebrate the life of an influential man, part of whose intellectual and spiritual legacy we all belong to. And while I only got to meet Traina once, which was last year, I do want his loved ones to know how much he is appreciated by the Asbury community. Below is Traina's obituary, which is followed by a short write-up from Asbury Seminary:

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TRAINA Dr. Robert A, 89, widower of Jane Odell Traina, died Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at his residence in Wilmore, KY. Born in Chicago, IL he was the son of the late Angelo and Argia Giovanonni Traina. He was a professor of biblical studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and member of the New York Conference of The United Methodist Church. He received the following degrees: AA from Spring Arbor University; BA from Seattle Pacific University; STB and STM from Biblical Seminary; and PhD from Drew University. Survivors include a son, Bob E. (Glenna) Traina; two daughters, Jan (Len) Wofford, Judy (Marty) Seitz; seven grandchildren; five great grandchildren; three sisters, Norma Mayhle, Rose Anderson and Vi (Dave) Corey; and two brothers, Don Traina and Ed (LaVerne) Traina. A graveside service will be held 10:30am Sat at Blue Grass Memorial Gardens by Dr. David Bauer. Burial will follow for family only. Visitation will be 6-9pm Fri at Kerr Brothers Funeral Home, Harrodsburg Rd. A celebration of life will be held at 3:30pm Sat at Estes Chapel at Asbury Theological Seminary.

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Dr. Robert Traina, Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies and for nearly ten years Dean of the Seminary and Vice President for Academic Administration, died Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010, surrounded by family. Services are presently being planned; a memorial service is tentatively scheduled for late Saturday afternoon in Estes Chapel.

Dr. Traina became a faculty member in 1966 and went on to become Dean of Faculty from 1967 until 1975 when he returned to the classroom. He retired in 1988.

In the recently published book, The Story of Asbury Theological Seminary, Dr. David Bauer says, “As academic dean of the largest institution of theological education in Wesleyanism, Dr. Traina did more than any other one person to shape the educational philosophy and curricular goals during what were perhaps Asbury’s most formative years."

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For other posts on Traina, see HERE and HERE.


  1. It was wonderful to take his course on the Pentateuch back in the early 1980's!

  2. It was wonderful to take his course on the Pentateuch back in the early 1980's!