In Memoriam: Benedict T. Viviano, O.P.


Benedict T. Viviano, O.P., STL, PhD, STM

The Catholic Biblical Association of America mourns the passing of Benedict T. Viviano, O.P., an active member since 1977, CBQ Associate Editor (1982-84) and CBA Visiting Professor at the Ecole Biblique (1985-86). Following is his obituary from the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great.

During the night of May 25, the Reverend Benedict T. Viviano, O.P., STL, PhD, STM died in his sleep at the Resurrection Life Center in Chicago, Illinois. Fr. Viviano was internationally renowned as a scholar of sacred scripture, particularly of the Gospel of St. Matthew.

Thomas Michael Viviano was born on January 22, 1940, to Carmeline Chiappetta Viviano and Frank G. Viviano in St. Louis, MO. For primary school he attended City House Academy (Barat Hall) from 1945-48 and Immacolata Parochial (Clayton) 1948-53. He then attended Christian Brothers Military High School, graduating in 1957.

Following high school Fr. Viviano studied from 1957-59 at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, in preparation to enter the Dominican Order, Province of St. Albert the Great. He entered the novitiate at St. Peter Martyr Priory, Winona, MN, receiving the Dominican habit on August 30, 1959. At that time, he received the religious name of Benedict. On August 31, 1960, he made his religious profession of simple vows.

Following his novitiate Fr. Viviano began philosophical studies at the Dominican House of Studies in River Forest, IL. It was there that he made his solemn profession on August 31, 1963. From River Forest he moved to St. Rose of Lima Priory in Dubuque, IA where he studied theology and was ordained to the priesthood on June 3, 1966. 

After his ordination Fr. Viviano studied at The Pontifical Institute of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. from 1966-67, where he attained both a Lectorate and Licentiate in Sacred Theology. In 1969 he received a Bachelor of Sacred Scripture from The Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, Italy, a PhD in Bible from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina (1976), and a License in Sacred Scripture (cum mentione speciale) from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome (1977).

Fr. Viviano’s teaching experiences began at The Aquinas Institute of Theology in Dubuque, Iowa, from 1972-81 and in St. Louis, 1981-84. He then taught at the Dominican Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem, 1984-95. At this time, he served as editor of The Revue Biblique. Following his time at the Ecole, he moved to become Professor of New Testament at the Dominican University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He taught there from 1995-2011.

A prodigious writer, in 1978 Fr. Viviano’s doctoral Dissertation was published as part of the Studies in Judaism in Late Antiquity, Study as Worship: Aboth and the New Testament. He was co-editor of The Illustrated Dictionary and Concordance of the Bible (1986). In 1988 The Kingdom of God in History was published and was later translated into French. He was also the author of the Commentary on Matthew in The New Jerome Bible Commentary (1989). In addition to other books, he was also the author of numerous articles and reviews, contributing to almost every major biblical journal.

Following his retirement from The University of Fribourg in 2011, Fr. Viviano divided his year between the Dominican community in Vienna, Austria and St. Dominic Priory in St. Louis, Missouri. In 2019 health challenges required his permanent relocation to St. Pius V Priory in Chicago, Illinois.

Fr. Viviano was deeply loved and respected by his Dominican brothers and all who had the opportunity to know him and receive the fruits of his wisdom as well as his wit. He will be deeply missed by them but especially by his sister Patricia Viviano Tecu and her sons Matthew, Peter (and wife Caterina), and Joshua Tecu. He was preceded into eternal life by his parents and his brother Paul Vincent Viviano.

Services for Fr. Viviano will be Saturday, June 3, at the chapel of St. Dominic Priory, 3407 Lafayette Ave., St. Louis, Missouri. At 10 a.m. there will be the reception of the body followed by the Office for the Dead and visitation. The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 a.m. followed by a lunch reception. He will be interred in the Viviano family plot in Calvary Cemetery.