People who have inspired me (I): Rev. Peter J. Gomes (1942-2011)


Rev. Peter J. Gomes was Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister at Memorial Church when I was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University in 1992. I heard him preach again on Freshman Sunday in 1998.

According to the Harvard Gazette, ‘Gomes, an American Baptist minister, served in the Memorial Church since 1970. He was a member of both the Divinity School faculty and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard. Gomes authored many books, including the best-sellers “The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart” and “Sermons: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living,” as well as numerous articles and papers.

Widely regarded as one of America’s leading preachers, Gomes participated in the inaugurations of Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He was named Clergy of the Year by the organization Religion in American Life in 1998; in 1979 Time magazine called him “one of the seven most distinguished preachers in America.” He received 39 honorary degrees and was an Honorary Fellow of Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge.’


See for a portrait of Gomes unveiled in the historic Faculty Room in 2016: