Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Geza Vermes: The Guardian Obituary

The Guardian this morning published its obituary of Geza Vermes.  Unlike The Times, The Guardian's obits are not anonymous, and Philip Alexander does a predictably fine job:

Geza Vermes Obituary
Expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls, the historical Jesus and the origins of Christianity
Philip Alexander

It's a superb piece, and features Alexander's own reminiscences as a student of Vermes.  There is one rather debatable line, that Vermes "helped launch the new quest for the historical Jesus".  The term "new quest" is normally given to the quest that began in 1950s Germany among Bultmann's students, and especially Ernst K√§semann, crystallized in the title of James Robinson's 1959 book, A New Quest of the Historical Jesus.  Vermes is more usually associated with the end of the new quest and not the beginning of it.  Some link him with the so-called "third quest", though Vermes himself shied away from such labels.  But that aside, a fine obit.

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