October 12, 1943 – March 22, 2017
The Rev. Marilyn McCord Adams — priest, scholar of philosophy of religion, philosophical theology and medieval philosophy, and a beloved inspiration and mentor to many — died March 22 of cancer. She was 73.
Services are pending. Survivors include her husband, Robert Merrihew Adams, to whom she was married in 1966.
Adams served most recently as an associate at Trinity Cathedral in Trenton, New Jersey. Previously she assisted at St. Mary in Palms, Los Angeles (1993-2007); St. Thomas’ Church, New Haven, Connecticut (1994 – 2002); Christ Church, New Haven (1993 – 1999); St. Augustine’s by-the-Sea, Santa Monica (1990 – 1992); All Saints Church, Beverly Hills (1998 – 1999); and Trinity Church, Los Angeles (1985 – 1988). She was an adjunct chaplain at UCLA from 1987 to 1993, and residentiary canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, from 2004 to 2009.
Her academic positions included Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University, Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University, the Horace Tracy Pitkin Professor of Historical Theology at Yale University, and professor of philosophy at UCLA.
She was a former president of the Society for Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy, was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2015, and was a recipient of the Henry Luce Fellowship in 2002 and a Gugghenheim Fellowship in 1988. She was a Gifford Lecturer in 1998 -1999 at the University of St. Andrews (Scotland), speaking on “Christ and Horrors: The Coherence of Christology,” and published a book of the same title, based on those lectures, in 2006.
Her other books included Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God (1999); Some Later Medieval Theories of the Eucharist: Thomas Aquinas, Giles of Rome, Duns Scotus, and William Ockham (2010); and the two-volume William of Ockham. She also wrote many articles, including “Is the Existence of God a ‘Hard’ Fact?” in The Philosophical Review (October 1967). She and her husband were editors of The Problem of Evil (1990).
Marilyn McCord was born October 12, 1943 in Oak Park, Illinois, daughter of William Clark McCord and Wilmah Brown McCord. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, two master’s degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Cornell University. She was ordained to the diaconate in the Diocese of Los Angeles by Bishop Oliver B. Garver on June 20, 1987 and to the priesthood on Dec. 1, 1987 by Bishop John Krumm.