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Van Elderen, Bastiaan (1924-2004) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Van Elderen, Bastiaan (1924-2004)

Historical Note:

Bastiaan Van Elderen was born on December 29, 1924 in Ripon, California. He attended Calvin College and went off to the University of California to earn his Master's in 1955. In 1959 he graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary with a B.D. Also in 1959, Van Elderen was appointed by Calvin Seminary to become an assistant professor in the New Testament department.  By 1961 he was promoted to associate professor and earned his Th.D. From Pacific School of Religion.

In 1972 Van Elderen accepted the position as Director of American Center of Oriental Research in Amman, Jordan.  Van Elderen returned to Calvin Theological Seminary in 1974 to teach another 10 years. By 1984 Van Elderen becomes faculty at Free University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Van Elderen was also a very accomplished archaeologist. He conducted numerous archaeological digs in Jordan, Egypt, and Tuckey.  The focus of his digs were to uncover relics of early Christian communities and churches. On one excavation he uncovered the mosaic floor of a sixth-century Byzantine church. He was also credited for helping bring in the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit to the Grand Rapids Public Museum in 2003.

On August 1, 2004 Bastiaan Van Elderen passed away due to a heart attack. He had also been suffering from cancer for some time. He was survived by his wife, Vivolyn, and 2 children, grandchildren, and a great grandchild. His son Marlin preceded him in death in 2000.

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