Dr. Marty is the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago, where he taught chiefly in the Divinity School for 35 years and where the Martin Marty Center has since been founded to promote “public religion” endeavors.
He is a Columnist for the Christian Century, on whose staff he has served since 1956 and in which his “M.E.M.O” column appears; editor of the semimonthly Context, a newsletter on religion and culture, since 1969; weekly contributor to Sightings, a biweekly, electronic editorial published by the Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School; a Lutheran pastor, ordained in 1952. He served parishes in the west and northwest suburbs of Chicago for a decade before joining the University of Chicago faculty in 1963.
Dr. Marty is author of more than 50 books. Among the books Marty has written are Righteous Empire, for which he won the National Book Award; the three-volume Modern American Religion; The One and the Many: America’s Search for the Common Good; and, with photographer Micah Marty, Places Along the Way; Our Hope for Years to Come; The Promise of Winter; and When True Simplicity Is Gained. His Martin Luther in the “Penguin Lives” series was published in February 2004.
He is also the author of numerous essays, articles, papers, chapters, and forewords. Marty has authored more than 5,000 articles; for specific listings, see the annual volumes of Readers Guide to Periodical Literature, where hundreds of Marty’s articles are indexed; others are accessible on the web. (For a list of writings since 1998, see Recent Writings.)
He is past president and director of several associations, institutions, and projects. Marty was president of the American Academy of Religion, the American Society of Church History, and the American Catholic Historical Association. He also has served on two U.S. Presidential Commissions and was director of both the Fundamentalism Project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Public Religion Project at the University of Chicago. He has served St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, since 1988 as Regent, Board Chair, Interim President in late 2000, and now as Senior Regent. (The Martin Marty Chair at the college is designed to advance its religious program and connections.) He was the founding president of the Park Ridge Center for the Study of Health, Faith, and Ethics and is now the George B. Caldwell Senior-Scholar-in-Residence there.
Also, Dr. Marty is the recipient of numerous honors, including the National Humanities Medal, the National Book Award, the Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the University of Chicago Alumni Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal of the Association of Theological Schools, and the Order of Lincoln Medallion (Illinois’ top honor). Marty is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society and of the Society of American Historians, an elected fellow of the American Philosophical Society, and is the Mohandas M. K. Gandhi Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences. Marty has received 75 honorary doctorates.
Marty was born in West Point, Nebraska, on February 5, 1928. He and his wife Harriet, a musician, enjoy an extended family of seven children, including two who joined the family as foster children, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.