Thursday, May 23, 2013

Geza Vermes in Times Higher and BAS

Jim Davila mentions an obituary for Geza Vermes in today's Times Higher Education Supplement:

Geza Vermes, 1924-2013
Matthew Reisz

The Biblical Archaeology Society has also published a tribute:

Geza Vermes (1924-2013)
Hershel Shanks

The latter links to a fascinating interview with Geza Vermes, dealing with his autobiography, the Dead Sea Scrolls scandal, the revision of Sch├╝rer and Jesus the Jew, among other things:

Escape and Rescue—An Interview with Geza Vermes
An Oxford Don’s peregrinations

It is from June 1994.  Here's an excerpt:
HS: One of your specialties has been the historical Jesus and the background of early Christianity. Do you feel this peregrination of yours has given you a unique perspective?
GV: I would like to think that as far as scholarly studies are concerned, this is irrelevant. But it is pretty obvious that what I’ve been through must have helped considerably, first and foremost to acquire the technical knowledge and to understand the viewpoint of an insider. As an insider, you know how the other fellow thinks. At the same time, you come to realize that there is an enormous amount of misunderstanding and blindness and confusion in both camps regarding one another that really prevents them from perceiving historic reality accurately. Perhaps I kid myself by thinking that I’ve performed something useful in producing a historically valid portrait of Jesus without preaching either to one or the other. I trust I am an objective and a detached historian. I don’t want to convert Christians to Judaism. I simply want to learn and to provide knowledge to others who seek to understand things better.
It's all worth reading.

One further thing.  Stephen Goranson (see his comments here) pointed out an error in the New York Times obituary of Vermes and they have today published a correction:
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: May 23, 2013
An obituary on Friday about the religious scholar Geza Vermes erroneously attributed a distinction to him. He was one of the first to write a doctoral dissertation about the Dead Sea Scrolls — not the first.
Well done to Stephen for setting the record straight and well done to William Yardley and the New York Times for making the correction.  I am very impressed. The Telegraph could learn from this -- its error-laden plagiarized obituary of Marvin Meyer is still available online with no corrections or apologies (see The Telegraph's Plagiarized Obituary for the story).

No comments: