He was at home in the Middle East

Bull examines a bas relief fragment from a temple on Mount Gerizim in Jordan.
Bull examines a bas relief fragment from a temple on Mount Gerizim in Jordan.

When Robert Jehu Bull arrived at Drew as an instructor of church history in 1955, the Theological School’s curriculum included one semester of coursework on the topic. By the time he retired as a full professor in 1991, that had been expanded to four semesters, an unmistakable sign he had impressed upon his colleagues the importance of church history.

Bull, husband of Drew President Vivian A. Bull and father of two sons, Camper ’91 and Carlson, passed away on Saturday, August 31.

“History was so much more than dates and events to Dr. Bull,” says Virginia Samuel-Cetuk, interim dean of the Drew Theological School and a former student of Bull’s. “He had the singular ability to connect his students to the men and women who preceded them in the church centuries earlier. He radically changed my view of history—and that has made all the difference to me.”

But it was as an ardent archaeologist that Bull, director of the Drew University Institute for Archaeological Research from 1968 to 1990 and an honorary trustee of the American Schools of Oriental Research, is best known in far-flung parts of the globe.

Robert_Bull3
In the classroom at the Theological School. Photos courtesy Drew University Archives.

Bull began his archeological work in 1955 with the Drew-McCormick expedition to Tell Balatah (Shechem), Jordan. He worked at the site, which included a dig at  Mount Gerizim, over several years.

From 1971-1996, Bull served as director of the Joint Expedition to Caesarea Maritima, a city in Israel built by King Herod more than 2,000 years ago. In 1980 the team found a series of crypts.

“It took courage and ingenuity to reach them,” reported the Christian Science Monitor. “The American scholar [Bull] and a select backup crew had to crawl 280 feet through a maze of underground vaults originally built by Herod to serve as warehouses for his once-bustling seaport. They inched their way through pitch darkness, wearing oxygen masks and scooping away vast accumulations of sand in their path.”

Bull was the author of more than 30 scholarly articles on topics ranging from the founders of the United Methodist Church to the world’s earliest irrigation systems in the Middle East. He was the general editor and co-author of several volumes reporting on Caesarea Maritima.

He held a Ph.D. and S.T.M. from Yale University; a D.Litt. and B.A. from Randolph-Macon College; and a B.D. from Duke Divinity School. Dr. Bull was ordained in the United Methodist Church and a member of the Virginia Conference.

There was a memorial service on Saturday, September 21 at the United Methodist Church in Madison, followed by a reception at Drew. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that gifts be sent to the Robert Jehu Bull Prize, which was endowed in 1996 and is awarded annually to the graduating student with the best record in church history.  You may contribute online or call 800-979-DREW during business hours. The family also encourages members of the community who knew Dr. Bull to share their stories via the comment form below.—Michael Bressman ‘06

96 Responses to “Robert Bull, Archaeologist The Christian Science Monitor Called “Indefatigable,” Dies at 92”

  1. Rosemary McLaughlin, Theatre & Dance Dept says:

    I had the great pleasure of sitting next to Dr. Bull at a dinner last spring. He was a delightful dinner companion, full of fascinating stories. We talked about our mutual interests, theatre and religion. I got a big laugh out of him when I confided that my wife had managed to become an Episcopal priest despite church history being her worst subject. I loved hearing about his research. I would have loved to have heard more.

    My deepest sympathies to President Bull, family and friends.

  2. Bob was one if my best friends. I hope the note I wrote him got there in time. I intend to write more at length soon. I send my deepest sympathies to Vivian. Dave

  3. Marvin Henberg says:

    I met Bob in 1994 when I came to Linfield College to serve as Vivian’s vice president for academic affairs in the third year of her presidency there. I called him my “Virginia gentleman” friend, for we both graduated from liberal arts colleges in the Old Dominion. The affection I bear for him is summed up in that phrase, for he was a gentle man indeed–considerate, affable, dedicated to family, friends, and service. My wife Laurie and I traveled with Bob and Vivian to Japan and China in 1999, staying for a time in Kyoto with Laurie’s aunt, a sister in the Order of St. Joseph. Bob and Sister Victorine were close to the same age and competed in who could extend the greatest courtesy to others in the group. (Forget that, as the “youngsters,” Vivian, Laurie, and I should have been competing to look after them; we weren’t even close.) Bob performed admirably to achieve a tie with Sister Victorine that brings smile to me every time I think of it.

    My condolences to Vivian, Camper, Carlson, Alexandra, Alex, the grandchildren, and all others who were drawn into the gracious circle of Bob’s genial good nature.

    • Jan (Henberg) verner says:

      I met Bob and Vivian Bull when my brother, Marvin, was at Linfield. Bob and Vivian invited my brother, John, and me to stay with them at the President’s home. We were in McMinnville for a special event. There was no room for us at the Henberg home. I have fond memories of Bob telling us about his many “digs”.

      I am thinking of Vivian and her family as I write this.

      Love, Jan (Henberg) Verner

      Roseville, Ca

  4. Ginny Samuel says:

    Bob Bull was one of the finest professors I have ever had the pleasure to study with in my many years as a student. When I was a student at Drew Theological School he taught the requred church history classes and began every class in the Life and Thought of the Church with prayer. That act taught me that we were on Holy ground as we talked about those who had come before us in the Christian faith. Bob’s faith, his love of life, his deep love of the discipline of history and his determination to unlock the patterns of life, thought and faith of those who preceeded us was inspiriing to generations of students at Drew Theological School. In addition to being a fine professor, he was a good university citizen and was known and respected by faculty and staff alike across the university.

  5. John Lenz says:

    Robert Bull was a gentleman and scholar, a well rounded individual interested in the historical heritage of humanity from classics and bible history to world history and the Silk Road. I admired his enthusiasm in sharing his findings.

  6. Bruce Wyatt says:

    My wife Carol and I first met Bob nearly exactly 11 years ago, when I was a candidate for the position of vice president for college relations at Linfield College. We met at the President’s House, and were immediately charmed by Bob. Once we saw the special cabinet of antiquities, and heard a few stories (just the tip of the iceberg, of course), we were sold. I already knew that I wanted to work for Vivian and for Linfield; but Carol and I also felt that we really just wanted to hang with Bob. While we only saw him intermittently, every meeting was a joy and a privilege. As an academic and a minister, he had an unparalleled way with words. Yet, unlike many members of those two professions, he was neither condescending nor preachy. He had an uncanny ability to engage people, and one of the most subtle senses of humor we have encountered. We were so grateful that he took an interest in our youngest child, Reid, who had (and has) a passion for Classical studies. On the phone yesterday, Reid (now studying for an MAT to teach Chinese at Brandeis University) asked us to convey his sympathies to the family. He noted that Alexander the Great may have also succumbed to West Nile disease, and that fact may have provided some amusement to Bob. Bob was no warrior or empire builder. But he will live on in our hearts. His life as a faithful servant of The Lord was lifted up in prayer at First Baptist Church McMinnville this morning. Please know that we are with you in spirit.

  7. John Henberg says:

    I was fortunate to have been with Bob at Linfield College and at the College of Idaho. He openly shared his academic experiences with me, and his personal stories surrounding life and living were super special. That’s so great, but it’s clear, he was a great man.
    John Henberg

  8. Jeffrey Kuan says:

    I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Dr. Robert Bull. It was such an honor for me to have known him when I was the Dean of Drew Theological School. Bob and Vivian extended their kindness and friendship to me. He left such a great legacy in archaeology and historical studies at Drew. My deep condolences to President Vivian Bull and Camper and Carlson. My prayers and thoughts are with the Bull family.

  9. Virginia Burrus says:

    I first met Bob when he and Vivian took me out to lunch upon my arrival in Madison in August of 1991: Bob was my predecessor as Drew’s Professor of Early Church History, and he wanted to be sure I felt welcome. Over the years I have appreciated him for his gruff humor, his tireless passion for archaeology, and his deep devotion to Drew, to which he contributed so much. His love and respect for Vivian was palpable and frequently expressed, their partnership inspiring. Bob will be missed by so many, but not least by his spouse and children, I am sure. I offer my condolences to President Bull and to all of Bob’s family and dear friends.

  10. Scott Chambers says:

    I have known Bob since about the time Vivian first arrived at Linfield College in 1992. Though their years in Oregon, the Chambers and Bull families have enjoyed countless gatherings and adventures.

    Bob and I are both early risers and the love of an early morning cup of coffee. My most cherished times with Bob were spent sitting with a cup of coffee and letting the conversation flow. The topic could be archeological, biblical, my struggles, family, or travel. It didn’t matter; what mattered was the discussion was unhurried because we were usually up hours before anyone else. We had these sessions at both the Chambers’ kitchen counter and the Bull’s kitchen table, Shari’s coffee shop in McMinnville and the Nautilus diner in Madison. I have been fortunate to travel with Bob and Vivian, so I have had early morning coffee with Bob in such varied locations as the Kershaw Courtyard Garden at the Albright Institute in east Jerusalem and riverside coffee as we rafted down the ‘wild and scenic’ Rogue River in southern Oregon.

    Wherever the location, all these times were special. I will miss Bob’s demeanor and wit, and the suggestions and guidance he gave me in these early morning coffee sessions.

    My sympathy and condolences to Vivian, Camper, Carlson, and the rest of the family.

  11. Susan Chambers says:

    The first time I met Robert was in the living room of the President’s House at Linfield. He calmly placed an oil lamp in the hands of our two year old son and proceeded to describe to him the evolution of the lamp though the ages. Robert saw me cringe and responded that I shouldn’t worry because there was carpet in the room and the lamp was only 1500 years old!

    Robert and Vivian have been like grandparents to our two boys. Since we are the Bull’s home away from home in McMinnville, I have had several afternoon tea times with Robert when the first question from him was “tell me about the boys.” We have been blessed that they have been so engaged with our children (now grown!)

    The sub-title of the news piece above “He was at home in the Middle East” is so true. When we traveled to East Jerusalem with the Bulls in June 2010, we were near the Albright Institute shopping for wooden carved Christmas Tree ornaments. A shopkeeper welcomed us chanting, “All of Jerusalem rejoices with the return of Dr. Bull.” With the incredible impact Robert had at all the archeological sites and with individuals in the area, I’m sure that many in the Middle East will grieve his passing.

    May God’s grace surround the Bull Family and may we all rejoice a life well lived!

  12. Obiri Addo says:

    Professor Bull, your kindness to me enabled me to stay focused on my graduate work at Drew. Together with your wife Vivia, Dave Graybeal and Karen M. Brown, you offerred hospitality and grace to many international students. On behalf of all of us, I say thank you. We will always remember you with gratitude.

  13. Maxine Clarke Beach says:

    Bob had retired and Vivian was president at Linfield when I came to Drew as Vice President and Dean of the Theological school. I visited Vivian at Linfield, awed by her leadership and her grasp of higher ed – but Bob visited me in my office often! He was often carrying a new book from the work that he was still doing to publish findings from dugs in the past.He knew that I had spent two summers at Tel Dor and was always bringing me up to date with what was going on there. He was always informed and I appreciated his mind and his love for old stuff! But more than that I appreciated his support. He was always encouraging and always kind. It is hard to think of a Drew without Bob Bull! But I know that there is still pottery tucked away in buildings there and so future archaeologists will get to dig up and deal with some shards lovingly touched by Bob. I can’t imagine the hole that he leaves in his wonderful uniquely gifted family. We are all so grateful for the work of Vivian this past year and into this year and are sorry for the pain of this loss! But please know as a family that you are held in our prayers and our admiration.

  14. Mickey Batsell says:

    Bob was a gentleman’s gentleman. Gracious, thoughtful,a whimsical smile, and a kind heart. He will be missed. Nancy and I send our thoughts and prayers to Vivian and their family. Our lives are blessed that his path crossed ours.

  15. Jonathan Levin says:

    It was a privilege to know Bob Bull, and especially to spend time with him as I did over the past year at any number of Drew events. Bob would light up when talking about his work—he was witty, engaging, clearly dedicated to both work and family, a real delight as a dinner companion. He was a great storyteller, and I loved hearing his stories, even when I’d heard them before. Deepest condolences from Erica and myself to Vivian, Camper, Carlson, and the extended family. Thank you for so generously sharing Bob with the Drew family these many years.

  16. Dora Fernandez says:

    I must say that I feel very lucky to have had the great pleasure of knowing and be “part” of the wonderful Bull family. Mr. Bull was one of the most respectful and inspiring people I have ever known. When I got married I wanted my husband to meet the family that throughout many years have given me a place in their hearts and as I expected he was very impressed by how caring they were. We are very sad to hear about this unfortunate loss. We’ll always remember Mr. Bull’s beautiful heart and how gracious and funny he was.
    We will always Thank Mr. Bull for giving us a place in his heart, he’ll be greatly missed by us and by everyone whom had the joy of being around him. Our condolences to Mrs. Bull, Camper, Carlson, Alex, Alexandra and the grandchildren. Descance en Paz queridísimo Mr. Bull.
    Love always, Dora & Cesar.

  17. John Lawlor says:

    In the spring of 1967, I met Bob in Jerusalem for the first time while I was on a semester-abroad program. A few years later he would be the Drew prof who guided me in my first PhD one-on-one seminar in Early Christian Church Architecture. We met every Friday morning at 7:00 a.m.; sometimes the sessions would last half an hour, sometimes 3-4 hours! Bob had a way of letting one know that good work had been done, but that there was still much more to do! He eventually became the first reader of my dissertation. I am grateful for his influence in my life. My condolences to Vivian and the family.

  18. Martin Dwomoh-Tweneboah says:

    Bob, we are all going to miss you. Your sense of humor was second to none. Your jokes could make a crying baby laugh. You were such a gentleman and your legacy is going to remain forever. Thank you for sharing your wonderful wife, Vivian, with us in all the work we had done to improve education in Africa. Deepest condolences from Esther, Emmanuel and myself to Vivian, Camper, Carlson.

  19. Ilunga Nadine says:

    I have personally known Mr. Bull for one year at the United Methodist Church in Madison.I, too, feel a sense of loss.
    Although no words can really help to ease the loss Mrs. Bull and the family bear; I just want them to know that you are very close in every thought and prayer.
    God bless you and keep you!

  20. Anne Yardley says:

    I had many fine conversations with Bob Bull over the years at Drew. In my role as academic dean I often had the opportunity to be sure that he met the newest recipient of the Robert Jehu Bull Prize in Church History – given annually to a graduating Masters student in the seminary. My prayers are with Vivian and their children at this difficult time. Bob was a warm and giving human being. I am grateful to have known him.

  21. Bill Millar says:

    I remember working through some details on the Copper Scroll with Bob in the Linfield Library. It was a delightful time. Bob brings such energy and clarity to all that he does. He is indeed a treasure. I feel blessed to have known him. My prayers are with Vivian and her family.

  22. J. Terry Todd says:

    Since Vivian and Bob returned to Madison from Linfield College, I would see them both at the Theological School’s annual awards ceremony. Bob would beam when we announced the winner of the Robert Jehu Bull Award, given to the graduating student who showed the greatest achievement in the study of church history. And each year, he would grill me about why it was that we did not encourage more students to get their hands dirty and their minds blown in the sands of archeological digs. Pretending to scold, he would then break into laughter with that Bob Bull flair.

    I adored Bob for the brilliance of his mind and the fierceness of his humor, for his passionate teaching, and for the way he inspired generations of ministers and scholars. Thank you, Bob, for sharing your many gifts. I will miss you, our all-too-brief moments together, and the twinkle in your eye.

    My deepest sympathies to Vivian and to Camper and Carlson.

  23. Dan Preston says:

    I had the privilege of meeting Bob Bull when Vivian took the Linfield presidency in 1992. What a gracious, kind, engaging, entertaining person. He led a remarkable life and was always willing to share a story or three about his adventures. Bob will be missed but he left a mark on this world and on those he encountered along the way. Vivian, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  24. Ed Wright says:

    When I now remember Bob Bull, one of the words that comes immediately to mind is wisdom. Bob exercised wisdom in his work as an archaeologist and in his work as a scholar. He made informed, judicious decisions in the field, and he graciously shared his accumulated wisdom with his colleagues and students. He was a true mentor, and his reach extended around the world through his research and through the lives of the people he touched. He created a legacy that can be admired by all: he made the world a better place. He contributed so much to so many, and although his death leaves an enormous hole, his legacy will remain a blessing and inspiration.

  25. Elise T. Zappas says:

    As an alumna of the College (’74) and Caspersen (’2007) and a librarian at Drew from 1984-2013, I have been an admirer of both Bob and Vivian for many years. My deepest sympathies to the family and to the Drew community. We have lost a great scholar, teacher and friend.

  26. Bob and Vivian are two of the fine standard-bearers in field archaeology; Bob and I first connected at Tell Balatah, the site of ancient Shechem, in 1957, and worked away at the “answers that lie below” for over a decade there and on the mountain spur called Tell er-Ras on Mt. Gerizim looming above. We have kept in touch as publication took over the agenda of this hoary expedition. Our last conversation by email about all this came within the past six months. That is nearly a life-time. Many adventures filled those years and colored all the years since. With warmest regards to Vivian, Camper and Carlson, as well as to the great Drew faculty who were the finest of colleagues: Barney Anderson, Jim Ross, Larry Toombs, Howard Kee, Dave Graybeal and a host of alumni/ae. Our hearts were young and bodies strong, and our memories will ever be profound.

    • Chris Madell says:

      Ted,
      It’s been a while, and I hope you are doing well. As I said in a message to Vivian earlier this evening, Bob was a delight to deal with. Well most of the time… But he was always gracious and polite. And even after we had no reason to communicate ASOR matters, he would call just to chat. As I told Vivian, I treasure the moment when I watched the two of you catching up at the book exhibit in Toronto.
      Best

  27. Like so many of us at Linfield, I came to know Bob Bull through his gracious support of his wife’s presidency. Bob blazed the trail of “First Husband” with great good humor, and for that we all loved him. My favorite memory involves a Linfield Fall Gathering where the master of ceremonies (Dave Hansen, I believe) decided it was time to do the chicken dance–which this East Coast city girl had never heard of. Vivian was ready and so was my husband Scott, and the two gamely proceeded to the front of the room to join the other dancers. I looked at Bob and asked, “You don’t do this too, do you?” “Oh my goodness, no,” he replied. “There has to be some good sense in this family.” Bob, it was grand sharing that moment–and many others–with you over the years.

    Vivian, Camper and Carlson, our hearts are with you. Thank you for bringing Bob into our lives.

  28. Gary Magnuson says:

    I met Bob as a Trustee of Linfield College since his wife Vivian was the President of the College.

    I only wish I had met him sooner as I loved archeology and was fascinated to hear his stories. He always made you feel warm inside with his friendly yet academic nature. Best Wishes to the Bull family,you got to know him a lot longer than me!

  29. Norma Dever says:

    When I remember Bob Bull, I think of his good humor and his pleasant attitude. He was always gracious, fun to be with and talk to. I have known Bob and Vivian almost 50 years. My son Sean played with Carlson and Camper at the Albright each summer we were there from 1971 till 1975.

    Sitting in the Garden at the Albright and joking with Bob was always fun. I remember him showing me and some others the place where Mithras was worshiped at Caesarea. It was so impressive. Bob had great ideas and the adventurous spirit to carry them out.

    Best wishes to Vivian, Camper and Carlson.

  30. Doug Tunnell says:

    I will always remember watching the large, gentle hands of Bob Bull slowly turn an ancient serving cup I purchased long ago in Iranian Kurdistan as he quietly pronounced it a piece of “coarse ware” typical of the place and period. We had enjoyed a lovely, long lunch together with Vivian and my wife Melissa. And I distinctly remember thinking “there is never a dull moment around this man, never a vacant thought or missed observation.”

    What a delightful friend, companion, teacher & gentle-man ! Such a special person leaves a large place in this world. Vivian, Camper, Carlson and all your family, know that our thoughts and prayers are with you today.

  31. Dr. Bull,
    I am so sorry with the loss of Mr. Dr. Bull. I enjoyed him so for during the times we talked, and I truly miss being at Linfield with you. I would like to be with you during this time of such great loss.
    Best and Love,
    Monroe

  32. Shaik Ismail and Meg Stanko says:

    Bob’s sense of humor and wit were two of his qualities that we will miss most. We were fortunate to have traveled with Bob and Vivian to Oaxaca one Spring. It was a pleasure to start each day at breakfast, with Bob, entertaining us with stories from the past, present and even future. He was curious about everything and openly engaged those lucky enough to in ear shot. It was a privilege to have known him. We are comforted knowing he is now in a peaceful place.

  33. Jim Strange says:

    I came to Drew in 1965 for a Ph.D. in New Testament. I discovered in Bob Bull a man of broad intellect, consistent kindness, who was clearly a master teacher. He had a unique ability to excite people about archaeology and church history. He certainly excited me. I managed to get to Israel for the academic year 1970-71 just as I graduated with the Ph.D. I came for, and Bob Bull was Annual Director of what was then the American Schools of Oriental Research, the very institution where I had a post-doc for the year. His devotion to field archaeology rubbed off on me and changed my life. I have thanked him for it more than a few times over the past almost 50 years. My heartfelt condolences to Vivian, Camper, and Carlson and all those who are feeling his absence so deeply.

  34. Vivian: My sincere condolences to you, Camper and Carlson. I share these words given to me by Joyce Reeves, Richard Reeves wife who you know well, when Robert passed:
    “Death is nothng at all; I have only slipped away into the next room. Iam I, and you are you; whatever we were to each other that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way you always used. Put no difference into your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it always was; there is absolutely unbroken continuity. Iam but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner…all is well! (H.S. Holland, Canon of St. Paul’s Cathedral)

  35. Patrick Huvane says:

    Dr. Bull was as kind and engaging as he was interesting. I will never forget his firm, consistent answer on the other end of the line every time I called the house to plot shenanigans with his son Carlson: “Robert Bull speaking”. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him, but he leaves behind the enduring legacy of a wonderful family. May he rest in God’s peace.

  36. Jule Gradek says:

    It’s peach season in Oregon. I will bake pie in Bob’s honor but no ice cream to honor Vivian’s deep loving care on what’s good and right to do. It was not in the classroom or in higher academia that I would meet this gentile man, but in the kitchen or over pie and tea or coffee. The twinkle in his knowledgeable eyes conveyed the passion of his stories.To lovely Vivian and dearest sons, Camper and Carlson, know this remarkable man left a soft footprint in many hearts.
    Jule

  37. Herb Huffmon says:

    Only about two weeks before learning of his hospitalization was when I last saw Bob Bull. He was in his car, waiting outside Mead Hall to pick up Vivian and drive her home or wherever. We shared some typical banter about his driving like the Biblical Jehu. It was a shock to learn of his death, while I was out of the country.
    I first met Bob and Vivian at the excavations at Shechem in the summer of 1960. (They had met previously at the site and one thing led to another.) Bob was happily multitasking already. He was the excavation medical officer, the supervisor of the “dump” railroad, and part of the core staff under G. Ernest Wright, the leading American scholar in Biblical Archaeology of his generation. (Some years later Ernest described Bob to me as an archaeological genius.) Apart from Shechem and Tell er-Ras (Gerizim), Bob also become the director at Caesarea Maritima. He led work at fabulous sites and lectured widely on his excavations, spreading his enthusiasm and sharing his results for hundreds of audiences. When people thought of Drew, they first mentioned Bob Bull.
    In the time together at Drew, Bob was very helpful to the Biblical Studies program and supervised some archaeological dissertations of Hebrew Bible students.
    He was a man who made a great contribution.
    I send my condolences especially to Vivian, Camper and Carlson.

  38. Dr. Kevin M. Brown says:

    Being a graduate of the Master’s programme in Near Eastern Archaeology there at Drew, it was my pleasure to have studied under Dr. Bull and to have worked for him at Caesarea Maritima. He was a gentleman and scholar with a real passion for archaeology. My sympathies to Viv, Camper and Carlson for their loss. He was a good man.

  39. Bob Bull was a senior colleague when I joined the Drew faculty in 1964. I am grateful for his support and his loyalty to Drew.
    Everyone mentions his work in archaeology and his wit. Here is my favorite that joins them delightfully: “My future is in ruins!”
    Bob cared for many, and was lovingly cared for by his family at the end. I sympathize with you at this time of loss.

    • John Stewart McGovern, M.Div., Ph.D. says:

      Charles,

      I loved your quote. Bob’s chuckle resounds in all
      of our lives.

      Please read my entry about Bob (#90) and let me know
      if it is resonant with your experience of Bob.

      I hope that Bonnie does as well as possible. You are
      a saint, bien sur!

      Fondly,

      John, a HDS alumnus (M.Div., 1972)

  40. Betty Tyson says:

    Today, while sorting mail, I discovered an opened letter. To my surprise it was dated May 15, 1987 and was signed by Robert J. Bull. My thoughts turned to treasured days shared at Caesarea Maritima. Immediately, I searched and learned of Bob’s recent “homegoing”. My life was greatly blessed through this Man of God and through the life of his student, Jim Strange, under whose leadership I worked many seasons at Sepphoris. May the Presence of the Lord be very real to you these days, dear Vivian.

  41. Lucy Porter says:

    I first met Dr. Bull when he became my faculty advisor when I entered the Theological School in February, 1976. He was always kind and helpful to me. I particularly enjoyed his teaching of Church history, with every class opened with prayer. He made the history of our faith come alive for us. My thoughts and prayers are with Vivian and their family in this time of loss.

  42. Roy W Ludlow says:

    My most distinct memory of Dr. Bull was my first Church History class at Drew Theological School. I was not overly religious those days (still not!) and I remember his prayers that he opened each lecture with. I though that his salutations to God to not be very reverent but as I matured, I think that he was right on. He will be missed, not only by former students but by his family. My prayers go out to all of you.

  43. Rev. Lori Eldredge says:

    It was joy to sit in Dr. Bull’s classes and be inspired to broaden my understanding of church history. Each class opened with prayer and was brought to life by the richness of his presentations, linking past and present, and with his experiences in the Middle East. My dream to travel to Israel will be realized in 2014, and now will be a pilgrimage in his honor.

  44. Harlan M. Baxter says:

    Bob Bull was one of my most influential and favorite professors during my seminary days at Drew from 1964-68. My friends and I still talk about him as we remember his dedication to teaching. I remember him always beginning his classes with prayer. I was privileged to get to know him in a more personal way after graduation during the years that his son, Camper, accompanied me on several backpacking and wilderness camping expeditions. I extend my sympathy and best wishes to his family and to all who will miss him.

  45. Jim White says:

    Bob Bull was a brilliant expositor of Church History not only for his students but also in those local churches fortunate enough to secure him for an Adult Education series. We always looked forward to his classes at Morristown United Methodist.

    The fact that he had done some excavation on the Morristown Green was always a source of interest to longtime Morristown members.

    I first met him in 1962 when I arrived at Drew. I suspect that generations of students may still chuckle at one of his “throw away” lines from Psalm 50:9 “I will accept no bull from your house!”

    Not bad advice to budding and seasoned preachers!

    RIP Bob Bull… our love and condolences to Vivian, Camper and Carlson.

  46. Bob Hayes says:

    Dr. Bull was one of my professors when I was a student at the theological school from 1956-59. I appreciated his scholarship and his warm personality.

  47. Maurice Luker says:

    When I arrived at Drew in 1956, the faculty was a Camelot for theology. Courses with Bob in Church History, History of Heresy, and Augustine were part of that stimulating program that led me to a B.D. (1959) and Ph.D. (1968) and to work with him at Shechem and Caesarea Maritima (along with my wife, Jean, our younger son, Marc, and our daughter, Amy). What a wonderful friend and generous scholar! Later Bob and Vivian lectured at our college. Thank you, Bob. Thank you Vivian, Camper, and Carlson for the wonderful times we shared.

  48. Carl Savage says:

    I came to Drew in 1997 for a PhD. partly because I knew of Bob Bull’s archaeology. When I finally got to meet Bob and Vivian I immediately saw in Bob Bull an excitement for archaeology. I came to learn that he was a person who had a deep insight into what archaeology could add to the study of church history and the biblical narratives. I often enjoyed meeting with Vivian and him at conferences as we presented our digs and am grateful that he included me into the (his) Drew archaeological family. My sincere condolences and prayers to Vivian, Camper, and Carlson and all those who share in the sadness of his absence.

  49. Richard Capron says:

    I remember Bob Bull as being a very “down to earth” human being–which, I suppose, is a good way to be if you are an archaeologist. In one way he seemed most at home in a world which passed long ago. But he had a way of bringing that world across the centuries so that we, his students, could appreciate it with him. In the aether of academia, Bob was a rare delight–a brilliant scholar who was at ease in casual conversation. I will treasure the times I enjoyed that experience.

  50. Horace Brown King says:

    As an M.Div. student in the `960′s, I appreciated Dr. Bull’s wit & wisdom — and especially his insistence on beginning each class with prayer. He’d sit on the desk, take off his glasses, and begin, “Sir,….”
    Needing “three easy credits” to round out my final semester, I signed up for a First-Century archeology course –which turned out to be most valuable, enjoyable and thorough…and provided preaching grist for many ensuing years! Thanks, good Friend.

  51. Bill Libby says:

    When I came to Drew Theological School in Fall 1958, Dr. Bull was one of my most exciting profs. He introduced me to the world of Church History but also spoke of his archaeological interests. Later I was able to visit some of his work in Israel. He was still single at the time and often gathered with students in a coffee shop/ diner in downtown Madison. Thanks, Bob Bull, for sharing your great mind and your life with so many. And thanks to you, Vivian, for watching over himt through the years.

  52. john R. Beaty says:

    I am saddened–no, gladdened, that we had this wonderful man so long to enrich and gladden so many. I remember him as if it were yesterday as a student in his classes in church history. I was a B.D. Student, class of 1965. He was brilliant, but so approachable. I always felt better after one of his class sessions and always more enlightened. Heaven is so much more attractive to me, knowing that Dr. Bull has ascended that Great Tell in the Sky. My deepest sympathy to his beautiful wife and wonderful family!

  53. Sad to hear of Dr. Bull’s passing. I was a student at Drew in the early 80′s and still tell his church history anecdotes to my friends and pulpit supply churches. Once his research assistant marked my term paper with a ‘C’; I was dismayed. I went to his office and asked him to read it. He said, “Tell you what, if you agree, the grade on your final exam will be your grade for the course.” I agreed. I got an ‘A’ on the exam; but, much more important than the grade was my desire to please the teacher I admired so much.

  54. George Kessinger T'69 says:

    Dr. Bull made a very dry subject, Archeology, very interesting and memorable. Was fun to be in class with him. He also stood by Drew at a time of turmoil to his credit. We offer condolences to Dr. Bull and to all of the Drew family.

  55. Pat Piermatti T'90 says:

    I was privileged to have taken several church history courses taught by Professor Robert Bull while doing my Masters of Theological Studies. He was a most knowledgeable and enthusiastic teacher who could explain the complexities of early church councils and heresies with ease. His seminar on St. Augustine was marvelous. Requiescat in pace (RIP). My condolences to the family.

  56. Jim D'Angelo says:

    Though I am saddened by his passing, I can’t but smile when I recall any of my many memories of Bob over the years since our first meeting in the Fall of 1963. During orientation as a first-year seminary student, my wife and I were ‘assigned’ to Bob and Vivian’s home for an informal get-together. Somehow, the discussion touched on my study of C.N. Cochran’s, Christianity and Classical Culture, as a college senior. So impressed, apparently, was Dr. Bull with my familiarity with this work, that he remembered me by name when, a few days later, I turned up in his Church History Class. That, of course, meant that he could easily single me out as straight-man to his unique sense of pedagogy-thru-wry-humor. Thus, when his lecture came to Eusebius’ claim of Origen’s taking Matthew 19:12 to heart ( his students will recall Bob’s “dancing girls in the grape leaves” tale) in this class of some 90 souls, he looked at me and said, “Mr. D’Angelo, can you tell the class the difference between Chastity and Celebacy?” That moment marked the beginning of my relationship with Bob as teacher, mentor, and dare I say, friend. I credit Bob with my introduction to and first involvement with archaeology. And, as a college and university teacher, I often found myself “creating performance,” in the Bull style. With gratitude that my life was touched by this man, and with condolences and best wishes to Vivian, Camper and Carlson -

  57. Rev. Cindy Schoneman Rettig, C '79, T '83 says:

    I was saddened to learn that Dr. Robert Bull has been promoted by Christ to his heavenly mansion-home. I always appreciated how he brought church history to life in teaching and in his writings. I also have fond memories of being a work-study student in the Archaeology Office, taking phone messages and trying to keep up with correspondence for the professors and TA’s. I can still hear his traditional farewell each time he’d leave for class or at the end of the day: “Keep a steady strain!” That thought has stuck with me during life’s trying times. (I also humorously recall the small poster above his office desk: “Illegitimi non carborundum.” That thought has also helped me get through some of life’s trials!) Thank you, Dr. Bull, for your teaching, your inspiration, your faith in Christ and your sense of humor! My deepest sympathy to Vivian and your family.

  58. Byrd Bonner says:

    The entire United Methodist Church Foundation family send our heart-felt sympathies, prayers and support in this time to Vivian and family. Bob shared so much with so many, as is evidenced by these stirring testimonials. God be with the entire family as they grieve, celebrate, remember and share love with one another.

  59. Rev. William Doughty T67 says:

    I will never forget Dr. Bull for his support during my time at Drew. He understood that an older student (37) with a family and student Pastors role needed just a little extra time and encouragement to accomplish. He gave me that time when I needed it.He encouraged me to
    never stop learning more than “just enough”.
    William R Doughty, BS Ed, M Div.,STM, PhD
    Dept. of Maine VFW Chaplain

  60. I was his student having graduated with an M.Div in 1985. I remember with great love his prayers at the beginning of every class. He would get down on his knees and passionately read a prayer from one of the great patristics. Further, I was deeply moved by his spell binding teaching in Church History. I loved Church History and it made seminary so powerful. I will always be deeply grateful for his life changing teaching for me. I emulate his teaching in my Church classes I teach today.

  61. Kate Sheeler says:

    I met Bob in 1988 at Caesarea Mariitma on the Mediterranean coast of Israel. Whenever I would see Bob (on site, in Jerusalem in the garden of the Albright Institute, or at the annual meetings of ASOR), he would ask about my teaching, encouraging my interests in the Classics, the classroom, and the field. This sage, wise, funny man even liked it when I spoke to him in Latin. I am forever blessed to have had the opportunity to work and learn from Bob. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
    Ave atque Vale, Sophissimus Magister.

  62. Chris Taylor says:

    Bob was a force of nature right up to the end. I’m pretty sure he was never as happy as he was on a dig, and I suspect he had an archeologist’s skepticism of colleagues without sufficient quantities of dirt lodged under their fingernails. But if that’s the case, he tolerated his more bookish colleagues with good and patient humor. Bob lived a happy, full, active, productive and long life, and then passed surrounded by a loving family. What a ride! requiescat in pace, Bob – you’ve earned it!

  63. Cao Jian says:

    When I met Bob the first time, it was at the W.F. Albright Institute for Archeological Research, Jerusalem, in 2010, when he was there with his wife Vivian. We often sat at the little back garden of the institute after breakfast or dinner with a cup of coffee or tea, chatting on different subjects, from Caesarea to the Hebrew Bible in modern China. When he knew of my interest in a Chinese OT scholar at Drew University in the 1920s, he, later replaced by Vivian, helped me collect material from archives at the Drew library. At the Albright Inst., I happily accepted their kind invitation to visit them with my wife at Madison at the following year, which has not come true yet. When they left the Albright Institute, we took a picture together, and I never knew that we would never meet Bob again, it’s sad, but Bob never passes away in my memory.

  64. Dr. Bull introduced and opened up to me the intriguing world of church history so much so that it undergirded my entire ministry. He did this by engaging me as a person as well as challenging my mind. He impressed on me the realization that few issues confront the church today that the church has not at some point in it’s history already faced. His “digging at Shechem” was emblematic of his persistent digging for truth. He impressed upon me and so many others that “dig” never ends. May God revealed in Jesus Christ bless his memory and comfort those who mourn the close of his earthly pilgrimage.

  65. dave and betty follansbee says:

    their lectures at VincentChurch led to a book, edited by Mike Ryan. Always well attended, these ecumenical lectures were a joy, and none of us would forget the night the Bulls brought an English lord to the church, where their slides and knowledge astonished him, having lived and served in Israel all unknowing of the archeological history Bob and Vivian brought!

    We grieve and are grateful to have had the privilege of knowing both of them…

  66. Cynthia Rogers says:

    I did not have Dr. Bull as a professor, but I was greatly honored to receive the Robert Jehu Bull prize several years ago. It’s inspired me to persevere in my research into the lives of nineteenth century Methodist women, and I’m deeply grateful for Dr. Bull’s life and work.

  67. I met Bob Bull at the November 2010 ASOR meeting in Atlanta. (I am an engineer by training but am an amateur in archaeology and astronomy.) I was sitting in the back of the hall during in the session given in honor of his 90th birthday. During his comments he presented two reconstruction drawings of the Mithraeum at Caesarea Maritima. They showed his 19 stave ceiling splay. He confided with the attendees that more and more he had come to entertain the idea that the number of staves might correspond to some kind of 19 year lunar-solar cycle. That rang an astronomy bell for me and before I could stop it, my hand shot up, and I gave him a “thumbs up.”

    “Is it true?” he called out across the audience. “I hope so!”

    An internet search revealed that there was indeed a very important 19 year lunar-solar cycle being used in ancient times, still in use today. When I passed this info on to Bull, he shanghaied me. “You’re on my team. Your job is to investigate the possible connection.” During the past two and a half years he refused to let me jump ship. Our findings appear to have turned out differently than either of us expected but this has been a most interesting but turbulent adventure. I thank God for the experience. My condolences to Vivian and your sons and thank you for your forbearance.

  68. Boleslaw (Boris) Borecki says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Bull through mine and my wife’s work at the Madison Methodist Church. Over the years, since 1989 he and Vivian always demonstrated grace iand interest in us, our activities and our children. One of the later memories we have is of visiting Robert and Vivian at their home for Christmas for tea nad cookies. And to see their large and eclectic colection of nativity sets. And yes, I also got to hold the 1500 year old oil lamp. My prayers go for Vivian and her sons.

  69. Jacquie Sojourner '82 says:

    My memories of the Bull family go back to the mid 70′s at Madison UMC. The boys were young, preschool I think and I often had them in the church nursery during worship. I remember their early creativity, their love of planes and building. I had two distinct times at the Theological School. I have always regretted not having one of Bob’s classes. I well remember Dr Vivian’s book on the East Bank being State Dept. reading while all the digs were going on. I wish I lived closer to campus now. I feel Drew is in capable hands and will rally around this special family during this time of loss and in the days to come. God bless and keep you all. Jacquie Sojourner
    P.S. I still treasure and use the unabridged concordance and Israeli crèche from those days together.

  70. Robert Jordan Ross T'60 says:

    My memories of Dr.Bull are from his second year of teaching at Drew, when I was learning from him not only about church history as such, but about the communion of saints. For the dead in Christ were never dead to him, but living with us and among us. That broke open my picture of humanity in time, as he also broke open many other parts of my mind. I have frequently thought of him over the years, and remember his wit and charm as much as his deep and refreshing knowledge.

  71. Walter E. Aufrecht says:

    In the summer of 1981 had booked a room at Albright Institute in Jerusalem. When I arrived, the Institute Secretary informed me that I would have a roommate, but didn’t know who. Later that day, as I was exiting the building in a hurry, she mentioned to me that she was going to put a bull in my room. As I got out the door, I stopped cold and wondered if I had got that right. “Oh well, it’s the Middle East,” I thought and kept on going. Later that day, to my relief, I found Bob in the room. Later, he told me that I had a strange expression on my face when I came into the room. No kidding! We got along as roommates for the rest of that summer, becoming good friends, no doubt partly because I got up early too, and partly because we had so many interests and colleagues in common . Since then, we had a lot to do with each other at various venues, including Bob’s visit to my university where he gave the best lectures I have ever heard. He once gave an impromptu tour of Caesarea to my students, all of whom learned more about archaeology that day then they ever did from me. He was a great teacher. He was a wonderful colleague and friend. I shall miss him. To Vivian, Camper and Carlson, who also are my friends, I send my love and deepest condolences.

  72. John Easton says:

    So sorry to hear of Dr. Bull’s passing. I was deeply impressed when I took church history in the Theological School that he would begin the class with prayer. Sometimes the most memorable things about people we have known are their actions, rather than their words. He will be remembered for his deep commitment to his academic and spiritual disciplines and his profound love for teaching and his students.

  73. olin j storvick says:

    I first met Bob in 1970 when I was a volunteer at Khirbet Shema and Bob was mentoring some new dig directors. In 1973 Concordia College joined his consortium and from 1973 to 1995 Concordia students and I, in thirteen seasons of excavating with the Joint Expedition to Caesarea Maritima, gained great profit from Bob’s wisdom, humor and humanity. His dig was a model for taking the educational aspect of the work seriously. After the end of field work in 1995 I was honored to assist him in efforts to publish the work of the Joint Expedition. He was a gentleman, a scholar and a man of the church.

  74. Edna Runnels Ranck says:

    I am an alumna of the TS who studied with Bob Bull and also knew him when I became a faculty wife in 1971. Somewhere in my boxes of long-ago photographs are pictures I took of him in his dig in Caesarea and in Jerusalem. I studied church history with him and today I am a historian of early care and education, a field that has its roots in European Protestant theology. Some of my historical roots are in that church history class. And I also recall his paying folks a dollar if they came up with a new play on the name Bull! My memory is of “Bulls-geschichte!” My deepest thoughts and prayers go to Vivian and their sons.

  75. Edna Dismus says:

    I first met Dr. Bull at orientation when I entered Drew Theological. I was also a student in his church history class. He was one of my favorite professors. I learned a lot from him; he was so passionate about his work. It always amazed me and to my surprise, he was the only professor that I had at Drew who always began the class with a pray.
    I extend my sympathy to Vivian Bull and the family.

  76. Judy Anne White says:

    I was a nervous, middle-aged student returning to school after many years away from academia. My very first class was Church History with Dr. Bull. I had no idea what to expect and I couldn’t begin to imagine what an adventure that semester would be. I remember thinking, “what a beautiful spirit ” as he knelt in prayer. He brought 2000 years of history to life. Stories spin through my memory but I remember especially how human Augustine became to me. I am but one of thousands who were richly blessed by his wisdom, wit, compassion, and enthusiasm. RIP sweet man. Your memory lives on among us.

  77. olin j storvick says:

    Please excuse my intrusion but I need to correct an error I made in yesterday’s comment (#73). Concordia College participated in eleven (not thirteen) seasons at Caesarea. OJS

  78. I have two distinct memories to share of Dr. Bull from my Drew seminary years in the mid’60s.
    1) There were moments in his Church History classes, when he would abruptly stop lecturing, and look out the second story window of Seminary Hall with what I best recall as a beatific glow. Then after a silence of about 10 or 15 seconds, he would share with us that he was watching his wife Vivian, a Brothers College faculty member, walking across campus. After a few words of absolute adoration, he would return to his lecture.
    2) The national gnomes of academic Methodism had just decreed that each of us had to have a class in the History of Methodism – a task then given Dr. Bull to fulfill. We were his very first class. Each night he would struggle to prepare lecture notes, and each morning he would teach us. He wasn’t necessarily pleased, and we were not necessarily excited either. Nor was the textbook, on the history of John Wesley, well written. But with a mutual honesty and forbearance, we all got through it. And even today, I don’t have an excitement about John Wesley, but I do have a struggled appreciation.

  79. Dr. Frank C. Croyle says:

    After I graduated in 1966 from Drew Theological my wife and I not only had the pleasure of visiting with Dr. Bull in Shechem while he was on sabbatical but also taking him up on his invitation to go with him to Petra. The day we entered Petra he greeted some vendors by name and they likewise. One of the vendors complimented Dr. Bull on his tie and he immediately took it off and gave it to him, insisting that he have it. After receiving the tie with a troubled look, Dr. Bull looked over his table and commented on what a wonderful tear bottle was sitting on the table. The vendor immediately offered it to Dr. Bull as a gift just the same way the tie had been offered. Dr. Bull took the tear bottle and I learned a bit about the cultural ways of the Arabs that you don’t find in books.
    Dr. Bull was quick witted and sharp in other ways as I remember him coming to a party that the seminarians in Davies House threw in 1964 as a sort of open house. There was a buxom young lady there in a formal gown who asked Dr. Bull with a huge smile if he would like to know what held the dress up. Dr. Bull’s quick response with an equally broad smile was, “don’t you think that I am abreast of such matters?”
    Inside the classroom or out he contributed a lot to my life in some very special ways and still resides in fond memories.

  80. Bill May says:

    Bob was especially important to me when I moved from a stint in the Army in Germany to B.D. studies in 1957. Patiently, he poked and prodded me to take seriously what I was doing at Drew. I well remember his generous gift of time, his application of his medical skills in carving of a Thanksgiving turkey after Vivian joined him, and late night conversations with his beloved Mozart in the background and a drought of whiskey, neat, in his hand.
    Teacher, scholar, archeologist, indeed — but great human being, yes!

  81. William Vine says:

    A true mensch! I learned much from Robert Bull’s class on Augustine in the early 70′s and remain in his debt for introducing me to the strange mental world of a major Church Father and his opponents. I treasure having been a student of Robert Bull though ever so briefly. A man of great learning and sensibility who will be missed by many.

  82. Dr.He Qi says:

    I have visited Drew two times in the past two years, and each time while I was in Drew, I met Dr.Robert- shaking hands with him, talking to him, discussing with him, sharing friendship with him,,,,,,
    At the moment, I can not choose any word to express my suffering feeling for his death,,,,,

    I put my photo with Dr.Robert discussing about Nestorian Crosses at Drew Library on my Christian Art History book which was published in Beijing (on page 305)

    I would also put another picture sharing friendship with Dr.Robert on my new art book which will be published in his month and I will donate first book to Drew next month..
    I am sharing a link which is one of my articles introducing my visit at Drew in this summer- particularly please see a photo in the end of this article:
    http://www.xici.net/d192204587.htm

    I put this article at a popular website through 7 different windows, almost there are over 4,000 viewers have seen this article,,,,

    I can not tell my friends in Drew -how suffering I am now,,,,
    My heart has been broken already,,,,,,

    Please pass my comforted words to Dr. Vivian A.,,,,

    May God blesses him in Heaven,,,

    He Qi

  83. Mary Capron says:

    My association with the Bulls stems from my growing up years at Madison Methodist in the 50s and 60s. I remember potlucks followed by lectures on archeology. While I have no specific memories of Bob, unfortunately, I am thankful for time he and others gave to educate us. My ideal picture of church includes potlucks and lectures by seminary professors. Prayers to Bob’s family.

  84. John D. Lane, D.Min '91 says:

    I received my D.Min. in May 1991. At that ceremony,Camper Bull got his bachelor’s degree, and it was announced that Vivian Bull was leaving Drew to become President of Linfield College. Two years later, while studying at St. George’s College-Jerusalem, I met Robert Bull when we traveled to the archeological site at Caesarea Maritima, according to Robert a site even larger than Ephesus. I was glad to meet him, and to sit at his feet next to the Mediterranean Sea. He helped to make Drew famous all over the world.

  85. I was shocked and saddened to read of Bob Bull’s passing. It was my pleasure to have know Bob as a teacher, colleague and friend. I first met him when I went to Drew as a graduate student, came to know him as a friend when he and Vivian invited us to their home on many occasions, saw him in his true environment at Shechem and came later to be his colleague at DTS. Nobody was kinder to students or less likely to get his grades in on time. He embodied a spirit that made Drew unique and special. We send our sincere condolences to Vivian and the boys. I will always expect to hear “Robert Bull speaking” when I think of Drew.

  86. Virginia Carle says:

    When I called him Dr.Bull, I always had the sense that he was Abba Bull – more like a father in the faith than an austere professor. Bob Bull’s incredible gift for balancing faith and life is a model I have tried to emulate. He was the first to open to me the importance of history in the drama of human life, and to promote the
    correlation of sociological events to the thought/faith process. His opening prayer at each class was refreshing and set the tone for the material we would encounter. All who have been his students are enriched by his presence in our lives. And his sense of humor – oh, my! Thoughts and prayers go to Vivian and the family.
    Blessings, Ginny Carle

  87. Catherine Keller says:

    One of the first conversations Professor Bull and I had–soon after I arrived here to teach theology in 1986–was at a cafe in the village. What I most remember was his hospitable twinkle mixed with some sense of irony, given the period-symptomatic difference of approach between a young, bring-down-the-Christian-patriarchy feminist and a Church historian, learned on the ancient Fathers! And most specifically what I remember him saying: “how about you consider joining me on the Madison Volunteer Fire Department?” Needless to say, that did not happen (other emergencies in the world preoccupied me ). But how delightful, years later, to find him in retirement hanging out at the same cafe, chatting with a couple of the other Madison volunteers. We are so grateful for his good humor, his superb scholarship, his archeological depths. He will always be part of the rocky foundations of this place.

  88. Elvis North says:

    My first class at Drew Seminary in 1958 found me in Robert Bull’s classroom. Someone with a better imagination than mine had placed a shiny apple on his desk with a note reading “To Dr. Bull – with Love – Eve”. With as much of a sneer as it was possible for him to muster, he silently paced about the room until he arrived at my desk, looked menacingly at me and demanded “What’s your name?!” When I replied “Mud, sir!” he slowly (reluctantly?) flashed that eternal smile which would light the halls at Drew for many decades.

  89. Bill and Dona Lou Imler says:

    The tributes already in this file tell it all! I add our condolences to Vivian, and their sons.

    I returned to the Drew campus with the privilege of serving as Assistant Dean (1960-67) with Deans Bernhard (Barney) Anderson and Charles Wesley (Charlie) Ranson. The Theological School had almost an entirely new faculty since my BD graduation in 1951. Among those many newcomers was Dr. Robert Bull. He and Vivian hosted so many wonderful gatherings in their home. After Drew, our friendship continued. Dona Lou and I were very amateur members of the Caesarea Maritima 1976 Dig, but oh, what a joy to be back thousands of years! We literally crossed paths at the Great Zimbabwe Wall in 1994 with the opening of Africa University.
    Since 1955 Bob has been a constant at Drew. His long and graceful career at Drew comes now to a close. His good-humored congenial presence will be missed.

    Bill

  90. John Stewart McGovern, M.Div., Ph.D. says:

    I am writing these words on the eve of Bob’s Memorial Service to be held tomorrow, Saturday, September 21st, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. in the United Methodist Church in Madison, NJ. I know that many individuals will be there, and that many more who cannot be there physically will be there in spirit.
    Popularity is an inadequate measure of how Self-Actualized (see the writings of Abraham H. Maslow) a person is. Bob touched so many lives that it is inevitable that he is popular and it is just and fitting that so many of us will grieve his passing from the company he has left behind. Bob was gifted with a vitality that embodied what Henri Bergson referred to as elan vital. His intense love of life brings to mind Anthony Quinn’s portrayal of Zorba the Greek. Bob’s eyes danced with the sparkle of superb humor and a tolerant compassion for all forms of life.
    My last meeting with Bob calls to mind and heart the wisdom of Martin Buber’s pearl that “All real living is meeting.” It was in the shade of the welcoming trees in the backyard of the home in Madison where he and his loving wife Vivian made so many of us feel “at home.” We were sitting at his outdoor table and we both clearly enjoyed conversing together (despite the obdurate fact that he completed graduate work at Yale, founded in 1638, and I had completed my graduate degrees from the much more historical university named Harvard, founded in
    1636!). Bob loved the narrative in history, and he was a master storyteller as he resurrected the past and made the listener feel the relevance of the remembrance of things past. Naturally I now regret that I did not visit Bob’s Backyard Academy much more frequently.
    I take from Bob’s life (now that his biography is complete even as his life extends beyond his death to the impact that he continues to have on all of us) that he was truly able to reach his potential as a human being. Martin Heidegger in 1926 (Adolf Hitler rose to power in 1933) wrote that the essence of being human is CARING. Bob’s caring was so transparent, and his caring spontaneously evoked CARING ABOUT BOB in all of us who have had the privilege on being on the planet in the same historical epoch as he.

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