In Memoriam: Theodore K. Rabb

It is with deep regret that we acknowledge the passing of Theodore K. Rabb (1937–2019), who was one the founding editors of the Journal of Interdisciplinary History and edited the publication for over four decades.

Dr. Rabb was a leading historian of European History and the Renaissance who taught that the values of Western culture are an invaluable fountainhead of modern life. During an era in which scholars developed increasingly specialized interests, he adopted a sweeping academic approach—ranging from economic history to politics to painting and emphasizing the broad scope and lasting influence of ideas that flowered during the Renaissance. At Princeton University, where he taught for almost 40 years, Dr. Rabb spearheaded a popular and demanding four-course interdisciplinary humanities sequence that blended history, literature, and philosophy.

His books include The Struggle for Stability in Early Modern Europe (1975), in which he suggested that the artistic and scientific efflorescence of the Renaissance transformed a world of constant turmoil into one of relative tranquility. In later years, Dr. Rabb focused on cultural studies, publishing The Artist and the Warrior: Military History Through the Eyes of the Masters in 2011 and Why Does Michelangelo Matter? A Historian’s Questions About the Visual Arts last year.

To lose Dr. Rabb in a year when the Journal of Interdisciplinary History—a publication that he was so instrumental in establishing and growing—celebrates its fiftieth year of publication is heartbreaking. We are honored to have published and worked with Dr. Rabb and remain grateful for his friendship and support.