White, J. Benton (1931-2023)

White, J. Benton (1931-2023)

Date Updated



Religious Studies Program

Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Theology, 1969, MTh

Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, University of Texas, 1958 Certificate: Marriage and Family Counseling

Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Theology, 1956 BD

University of Alabama, Gen Business, 1953 BS

Teaching Experience

Santa Clara University, adjunct professor, 1993-2004

San José State University, 1970-1992

Cotner School of Religion, University of Nebraska, 1959-1961

Administrative and Professional Experience

Ordained minister in the United Methodist Church

US Air Force Chaplain (SAC), 1956-59

Campus Minister, Wesley Foundation, University of Nebraska, 1959-61

Director of Wesley Foundation, SJSU, 1961-69

Ombudsman, SJSU, 1967-69

Director of UCCM, SJSU, 1968-69

Assistant to the President, SJSU, 1969-70

Coordinator Religious Studies Program, SJSU, 1970-92

Academic Advisor to Athletics, SJSU, 1980-81

Selected Publications


Taking the Bible Seriously: Honest Differences About Biblical Interpretation, Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993

From Adam to Armageddon: A Survey of the Bible (5th edition). J Benton White and Walter T. Wilson. 2005

Unto Us is Born (a novel), Bloomington, IN, AuthorHouse, 2011

A number of articles have been published

Personal Commentary

I have always felt close to my roots. I was active in church all of my life and felt drawn to the ministry at an early age. I served as a SAC Chaplain after seminary. It was while at Lincoln AFB I met and married my wife. We remained in Nebraska after the service while I served as campus minister at the University of Nebraska. I helped plan and build its Wesley Foundation facility.

We came to San Jose in 1961 when I was offered the job as Director of the Wesley Foundation (Methodist Campus Ministry) at SJS College. I was active in the Civil Rights movement here, and that is probably what brought me to the attention of Robert D. Clark, then President of SJS, who asked me to be the first university Ombudsman in the fall 1967. Next I became Assistant to the President for Dr. Hobert Burns, interim President of SJS in 1969. In that job I wrote and carried through committee the proposal for an academic program in Religious Studies at SJSU. In 1970, I became Coordinator of the Religious Studies Program and a Professor of Religious Studies at SJSU. Religious Studies now has a major, minor, etc.

While at SJSU, I was active in committees at all levels of the university. I twice served as Chair of the University's Athletics Board, chaired several of the coach search committees, was twice Chair of the RTP Committee of the College of Humanities and the Arts, was on many other School, College, and University committees, often as Chair. I was on the Board of the SJS University Club for six years, and its President for two. I oversaw the physical renovation of the Club as President. I served as the Chair of the College of Humanities and the Arts Dean Search Committee that chose Jack Crane as Dean. I received (at least) two MPPAs. I was President of the Western region of the American Academy of Religion in 1980-81. I was President of SJSU Phi Kappa Phi, and first National Chaplain of Pi Kappa Phi social fraternity.

I have been active in affairs beyond the University, particularly in the affairs of Almaden Hills United Methodist Church. I served on the Boards of the South Valley YMCA and the Seven Step Foundation. I coached Little League baseball in the Lincoln Glen League for three years and served on its Board for five more years. I founded the SJSU Golf Club and have served in all of its offices.

I have taught at Santa Clara University each year since retiring, am doing a fourth edition of my text, and am writing a novel. I have been active in EFA as well, being Membership Chair, Newsletter Editor, and now Vice President.

Date Completed: 6/96; Updated 10/29/2019

Adapted from: Biographies of Retired Faculty San Jose State University 1997: A Project of the Emeritus Faculty Association of San Jose State University. San Jose, CA: The University, 1997.


White, J. Benton (1931-2023)