Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Paul S. Sanders Papers
Paul Sanders, minister of the Methodist Church, lecturer, and educator, was born in Alabama in 1918. He held a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama in 1939, a B.D. from Emory University in 1942, a S.T.M. from Union Theological Seminary in 1947, a Th.D. from Union Theological Seminary in 1954, and an M.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts in 1965.
In 1942, Sanders was ordained to the Methodist ministry. He resigned from the ministry in 1960 and became a lay member of the Episcopal Church. In 1943 he was assistant minister in Columbus, Georgia and, from 1943 to 1946, he was a chaplain in the Navy. While in the reserves he was called again to serve from 1950 to 1952. In between his periods in the military he was associate minister and then pastor of St. Luke's Methodist Church, New York.
Sanders' career in education began in 1953 when he tutored Church History at Union Theological Seminary. He went on to become Assistant Professor of Religion at Amherst College from 1954 to 1958. He was Associate Professor of Church History at Vanderbilt University Divinity School from 1958 to 1960. From 1964 to 1966 he served as a visiting lecturer in Religion at Smith College. Finally, he taught as an Assistant and Associate Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts from 1965 until 1971, when he went on sabbatical. While at the University of Massachusetts, his most successful course was "The Bible as Literature".
From 1962 to 1969 Sanders was associated with the Layman's Academy for Oecumenical Studies, based in Amherst, Massachusetts. He served as a lecturer, instructor, and, during the years 1962 to 1964, he was associate director.
His most important writing and lecturing was done while he pursued his career in education. Other than his Th.D. thesis, Wesley's Sacramentalism in the Evolution of Early American Methodism, Sanders' writings include a book of essays he edited entitled Twentieth Century Interpretation of the book of Job, and an unpublished manuscript on "The Poetry of the Book Psalms", unfinished at the time of his death in 1972.