It is with sadness we share the news that Donald Michael Hudson, Ph.D., one of the founders of The Seattle School, passed away on November 15th, 2022. As we remember Dr. Hudson, along with our sorrow, we also want to share our deep gratitude for his contributions to shaping and establishing the mission, vision, and direction of our institution, formative influences that remain and sustain us 25 years later. We are grateful to Don Hudson for the early years of labor he and his colleagues gave to bring forth The Seattle School, and we also recognize the many people and places he impacted through his career. His lifelong passions for Old Testament scholarship and for relevant and complex 21st-century Christian faith created extensive legacies across the nation and around the globe.
At the time of his death, Don Hudson, Ph.D., was Professor of Religious Studies and Chair of the Bible and Religion Department at King University in Bristol, Tennessee. As a professor, Dr. Hudson was known not only for his innovative pedagogies but also for his popular classes focused on understanding and engaging with pressing issues related to Judeo-Christian religion in the modern age. His specific area of scholarship included the historical section of the Old Testament and his dedication to understanding the book of Judges in light of archaeological evidence as well as modern theory and methods of study. For three decades, Dr. Hudson emphasized the need for reading and understanding the Scriptures with relevance and significance for people in the 21st century: “What do these texts and narratives have to say to people in the modern age?”
In pursuit of these complex questions of Christian faith and modern relevance, Don Hudson, together with Dan Allender, Liam Atchison, Kim Hutchins, Christie Lynk, and Heather and Kirk Webb, founded in 1997 what is now known as The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology. Through those early years, Dr. Hudson was instrumental in crafting the original vision, hiring faculty and staff, recruiting students, and raising funds. As Associate Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature, Dr. Hudson created a curriculum of Hebrew Bible study that incorporated literary approaches, postmodern thought, and feminist criticism. He also was influential in designing the original curriculum for the MDiv and the MA in Theology (now MA in Theology and Culture) degrees, always focusing on relevance for modern times.
After The Seattle School, Dr. Hudson taught at Northeast State Community College and at Appalachian State University before becoming a professor at King University. His work extended across the globe, including serving as a visiting professor in countries around the world, consulting with organizations managing refugee populations, and presenting his research internationally. He directed and participated in archaeological excavations and also led students on travels to Palestine. Throughout his career, he promoted education and research. On the governing board of the King Institute of Faith and Culture, he continued guiding and engaging in conversations on issues of faith and culture, including as a speaker and essayist. A prolific and profound writer, Don Hudson authored, co-authored, or edited multiple books and published dozens of essays and articles.
Serving as Contributing Editor, Don Hudson had a deep involvement with the Mars Hill Review, a literary journal affiliated with The Seattle School, and his essays often appeared in the publication as well. In “The Glory of His Discontent: The Inconsolable Suffering of God” published in Mars Hill Review issue 6, Dr. Hudson examined the complex questions of theodicy, of suffering and faith in a broken world: “If the Christian life is a sojourn, which I believe it is, then the pilgrim on the way (Homo Viatoris) is moving from the innocence of Eden to the joy of heaven while trying to make sense of a tragic, suffering world.”
President and Provost Dr. J. Derek McNeil reflected: “I knew Don only through his writing and his students, which is to say I’ve come to know him through his intent in the world. My greatest compliment might be that when I read the words of Don Hudson, they moved me. They touched a core of my humanity, not always understanding why they were resonant but aware that he was inviting me on a journey I was already on and bidding me to go a little farther. It was my hope that in this 25th Anniversary year, I could have an excuse to make his acquaintance, to see where down the road his journey was still winding. I must let that dream go, but it is not without hope that I celebrate his life and legacy.”
For more information on services, please see Don Hudson’s obituary.