Jacek Oniszczuk, In memoriam

On December 22, 2017, on the Gran Sasso of L’Aquila, in the area of Pizzo Cefalone, P. Oniszczuk was carried away by an avalanche.

Jacek Oniszczuk was born in Lubartow (Poland) on July 6, 1966. After high school he had enrolled in Warsaw Polytechnic University. He did not become an engineer because the Lord called him to religious life and priesthood in the Society of Jesus: he entered the Society on August 25, 1988, and was ordained on June 29, 1999.

After receiving his Baccalaureate in Philosophy from the Jesuit Academy of Philosophy and Pedagogy in Krakow, Poland, in 1993, he moved to Warsaw where he worked for two years on the editorial staff of the Jesuit periodical Przeglad Powszechny. In 1995, he came to Rome to undertake studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He received his Baccalaureate in Theology in 1998, and in 2001 his Licentiate in Theology with a specialization in Biblical Theology, spending the last semester of his studies in Jerusalem. Afterwards, he returned to Poland to carry out a pastoral ministry in Gdynia, and for a year he worked in a parish and taught religion in a state school. In 2002, he returned to Rome to begin studies for a Doctorate in Theology, again with a specialization in Biblical Theology, at the Pontifical Gregorian University, under the direction of Fr. Roland Meynet. Defended in 2006, his thesis was published in 2009, with the title The First Letter of John. The justice of the children, and is translated into French in 2013: La première Lettre de Jean

In 2004 he began teaching in the Faculty of Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University with the title of Assistant Professor. In 2007 he was appointed Lecturer; in 2009 Associate Lecturer and on January 24, 2013 Extraordinary Professor.

On June 15, 2017, he was appointed Director of the Department of Biblical Theology, effective September 1, 2017.

He was one of the founding members and Treasurer of the “International Society for the Study of Biblical Rhetoric and Semitic” (RBS).

In addition to his doctoral dissertation, he has published The Passion of the Lord according to John (Jn 18-19) (2011), Incounters with the Risen One in John (Jn 20-21) (2013), second revised edition (2018). With Fr. Meynet he has published Exercises in biblical rhetorical analysis (2013), French edition, Exercices d’analyse rhétorique biblique, and several editions of the Typographical standards for composing texts with computers. He also edited with P. Meynet the publication of the Proceedings of the Conferences of the RBS.

He had just finished a third book on the middle section of John’s gospel, entitled “If the grain of wheat falls into the ground it does not die.” (Jn 11-12); all that was missing was the conclusion. This book, in some ways his testament, will be published soon in the series “Rhetorica Biblica et Semitica” (at the Peeters – Leuven publishing house), of which, together with R. Meynet, he was co-director.

With Jacek Oniszczuk we have lost an esteemed colleague, a faithful friend, a brother, a son. His last two books, both on the resurrection, make us grow, in spite of grief, in hope.