Saturday, October 28, 2006

James Barr Times obituary follow-up

There is a brief reaction to The Times Obituary of James Barr. This is from Lives Remembered, Comments, October 26:
M. E. J. Richardson writes: To say of James Barr (obituary, October 18) that “his Hebrew muse seemed to have deserted him” when he took up the Regius Chair of Hebrew fails to take note of the time he invested for the Oxford University Press in preparing material for a new edition of its dictionary of biblical Hebrew. The decision to abandon the project because of lack of funds was a great disappointment to him.

To say that he was “reluctant to engage in serious oral debate and discussion” fails to ring true to many colleagues. An academic discussion at one of his lectures revealed that he had not advanced any thesis without fully considering the merits of the antithesis. When invited to debate publicly with the Professor of Ugaritic at the Pontifical Institute in Rome about the translation of some of the cruces interpretum in the Book of Job, he readily accepted. His opponent, who had not met him before that, was afterwards heard to remark that he had been somewhat surprised to find that their fundamental disagreements could be laid to rest in such a cordial and dignified way . . . .

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