Wednesday, November 28, 2007

H. Benedict Green Obituary, and Farrerians in Oxford

I commented on the sad death of H. Benedict Green in September. The Church Times recently had an obituary:

Obituary: FR BENEDICT GREEN CR [dead link, see update below]
The Very Revd Victor de Waal and Esther de Waal

A couple of things in the obituary may be of interest to scholars of the Synoptic Problem. The obituary mentions that Benedict Green was schooled at Eton, and I might add that that is where he first met his younger contemporary Michael Goulder. (The New Testament scholar Anthony Harvey was also at Eton at the same time). The obituary also notes Father Benedict's connections with Oxford. His father F. W. Green was a fellow of Merton College, and it was his father's commentary on Matthew that Father Benedict later updated, in the Clarendon Bible, and still very much worth consulting today. The Farrer Theory has a marked Oxford pedigree. Austin Farrer spent most of his academic career there; Michael Goulder and H. Benedict Green were both students there, and Michael later returned to give the Speakers Lectures. E. P. Sanders, a Farrer sympathiser, was Dean Ireland Professor there in the second half of the 1980s, a fact that probably has a lot to do with my own Q scepticism, and Eric Franklin, author of Luke: Critic of Matthew, Interpreter of Paul was there from the 1970s until his sad death recently. Other Farrerians are still in Oxford, John Muddiman, my doctoral supervisor; Robert Morgan, recently retired; and Eric Eve.

Back to the obituary, its authors mention that "his major work on this subject became his monumental Matthew: Poet of the Beatitudes, finally published in 2001". I would like to underline that this is a fine book, and it is one that is only going to be fully appreciated now after his death.

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Update (23 February 2014): The link above is now dead, but the obituary is reproduced on the Mirfield website here:

H. Benedict Green Obituary


4 comments:

Peter M. Head said...

I believe John Sweet was also a contemporary (at least with Michael Goulder) at Eton.

Mark Goodacre said...

Peter: yes, you are right; I had forgotten that.

Christopher Shell said...

John Fenton - another Farrerian? I may be mistaken.

Mark Goodacre said...

Good point, Christopher. How could I have forgotten that? And he was one of my teachers too!