James Barr Dead At 82

jamesbarr.jpgDr. James Barr, an amazing biblical scholar, theologian, and linguist, died October 14 in Claremont, California. Students of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament will be familiar with his works (if not, they should be!). Here is an excerpt from the Vanderbilt press release:

James Barr, an influential Bible scholar and linguist who challenged the latitude taken by many translators of Scripture, died Oct. 14 in Claremont, Calif. He was 82.

Barr, a native of Scotland, taught at Vanderbilt Divinity School from 1989 until his retirement in 1998 from his post as Distinguished Professor of Hebrew Bible. Upon his retirement, he was awarded the status of professor emeritus.

“Professor James Barr ranks as one of the most influential biblical scholars and Semitists of the second half of the 20th century,� said Doug Knight, professor of Hebrew Bible and director of Vanderbilt’s Center for the Study of Religion and Culture.

There is also an obituary in Wednesday’s The Times Online, which notes that Dr. Barr “was one of the most significant Hebrew and Old Testament scholars in Britain in the past century” (HT James Aitken).

Dr. Barr has published numerous scholarly works throughout his career, including the following:

His works on semantics and text criticism have been quite influential on my own thinking (The Semantics of Biblical Language is still a must read for any biblical scholar), as well as his biblical theological works (The Concept of Biblical Theology and The Garden of Eden and the Hope of Immortality). I have also enjoyed reading his works on fundamentalism and Scripture, though I differ with some of his conclusions.

Dr. Barr’s contributions to the field will be a lasting testimony to his scholarship. Rest in peace.

Jim West also has an announcement, as does Chris Heard.

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