Lincoln D. Hurst, a core member of the religious studies department at UC Davis for many years, an American Bible scholar and religious and film historian, died from a sudden heart attack on Nov. 11. He was 62.
The Woodland resident is survived by two nephews, Tym Hurst and John Hurst, and a niece, Jami, as well as his sister-in-law, Sylvia.
A memorial service will be held on campus in Voorhies 126, today at noon.
Hurst was born on May 6, 1946 in Chicago. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1969 from Trinity College in Illinois. He was later granted a Master of Divinity in 1973 and Master of Theology in 1976 from Princeton Theological Seminary.
In 1982, Hurst received a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University.
“He loved to study, loved the academic life and thoroughly enjoyed teaching,“ said David Nystrom, one of Hurst‘s former TAs and a good friend.
Hurst started his professorship at UC Davis in 1983, where he inspired generations of UC Davis students, said Naomi Janowitz, a fellow religious studies professor. Hurst retired from teaching in June 2006.
“He dedicated his entire teaching career at Davis,“ Janowitz said.
During his teaching career at UC Davis, Hurst inspired many students to become interested in religious studies.
“I took as many [of his classes] as I could, half a dozen,“ said Jake Hosier, a UCD graduate with a religious studies degree.
Hurst inspired Hosier by showing him that religious studies was a worthy major, he said.
“Before, I felt that religion is separate from school,“ Hosier said.
“When I came to Davis I was a Christian,“ he said. “I remember going to class and feeling stupid because Christianity is looked down upon. He showed me that you can have faith and still be intelligent.“
One of Hurst‘s former student‘s, Alexandra Restrepo, created a Facebook fan group for Hurst entitled, “Yep, I’m a Huge Fan of Professor Hurst,“ which has 65 members.
“He was such an incredibly bright light in this world,“ said Restrepo, who took five of Hurst‘s classes. “His life is an inspiration to us all.“
Hurst not only inspired students to major in religious studies but also to pursue studies in other areas as well.
“Actually, because of a comment he made during office hours, I decided to learn ancient Greek – a decision that led to two of my majors,“ said Jeff Lee, a UCD alumnus.
Hurst‘s students remember him mostly by his enthusiasm for teaching and his jokes.
“‘Mark’s Jesus was so on the go, you never could nail him down,‘” Lee said, recalling one of Hurst‘s jokes.
Hurst‘s popularity often led to over crowded classes.
“Every year people are sitting in the hallway, sometimes the fire marshals had to come,“ Hosier said.
“He taught the same materials over and over again,“ Janowitz said. “He was always enthusiastic; you would never know that he already taught it before.“
Among his love for teaching, there was also a love for animals.
“He has such a tender heart for people and animals,“ said Jeanne Hart, a UC Davis staff member who worked with Hurst.
“He has three dogs and he has to pass by the animal shelter on his way to work,“ Hart said. “He had to stop going in that direction because he could not take in any more animals.“
“[His memorial service] will be jam-packed like his classes,“ Hosier said.
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