Oberlin Alumni Magazine

Spring 2012 Vol. 107 No. 2 OAM Home | Oberlin Online


Dr. William Hamilton '44

Dr. William Hamilton '44 was a theologian whose controversial beliefs received broad exposure when Time magazine published a cover story in 1966 asking,"Is God Dead?". Dr. Hamilton said the "death of God" was a metaphor, useful to redefine Christianity without the presence of God, whose existence as an omnipotent being he couldn't reconcile with human suffering, especially after the Holocaust. He earned a master's degree at Union Theological Seminary and a doctoral degree in theology at the University of St. Andrews. Dr. Hamilton taught at Colgate Rochester Divinity School, New College, and Portland State University; wrote and hosted over 40 episodes of Look Up and Live on CBS; and was a published author. He marched in Washington, spending time with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Andrew Young, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Dr. Hamilton died February 28, 2012, leaving his wife, Mary Jean Golden, five children, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.