By: James A. Sanders
Bruce Manning Metzger, the quintessential Presbyterian elder, scholar and gentleman, was one of the foremost New Testament textual critics of the 20th century. He was a major contributor to our understanding of the history of formation of the New Testament canon, an influential translator of the Biblical text and an insightful interpreter of the New Testament for modern times.
Yizhar Hirschfeld, a leading Israeli archaeologist and the director of the excavations at Tiberias and Ramat Hanadiv, died on November 16, 2006, in Jerusalem from complications of a stroke. He was 57 years old. Dr. Hirschfeld was an associate professor in the classical archaeology department of the Institute for Archaeology at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he had taught since 1989.
By: Jeffrey H. Tigay
Tikva Frymer-Kensky, professor of Hebrew Bible and the History of Judaism at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, died August 31 after a long battle with cancer. Frymer-Kensky received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University, and specialized in Assyriology, Sumerology and women and religion. Her most recent book, Reading the Women of the Bible received a Koret Jewish Book Award in 2002 and a National Jewish Book Award in 2003. The Chicago Jewish News voted her one of the Jewish Chicagoans of the Year in 2005. She was also honored by the Jewish Publication Series in 2006 by being the first women to be included in their Scholar of Distinction series.
By: Martin Abegg
John C. Trever, the American scholar who photographed the Great Isaiah Scroll and other important Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts in Jerusalem in 1948, died April 29, at his home in Lake Forest, California. He was born November 26, 1915, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a post-graduate student in war-torn Jerusalem during the fall of 1947 and the spring of 1948, Trever was literally “found” by the Dead Sea Scrolls when Syrian Orthodox clergy brought them to be evaluated at what is now the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research.
Benedikt Isserlin, linguist, historian and archaeologist, died on October 23, 2005, at the age of 89. Isserlin directed excavations at Jaffa and Mikhmoret (Israel) and at Motya (Sicily), as well as leading an expedition to Malaga (Spain). His 1998 book The Israelites was praised as an exhaustive and accessible presentation of the latest and best scholarship on ancient Israel.
Simon B. Parker was a professor of Hebrew Bible at Boston University’s School of Theology. He taught at the university for 25 years. He died of a brain hemorrhage on April 29 at the age of 66. Parker was an expert in Ugaritic literature and Hebrew inscriptions. He was the editor of the Society of Biblical Literature’s translation series and author of two books and scores of papers and articles.
Jaroslav Pelikan, the leading scholar of the history of Christianity and long-time Sterling Professor of History at Yale, has died. He was 82. Professor Pelikan was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1923. He grew up in a multi-lingual family and spoke Slovak, English, German, and Serbian, and could read Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Russian. By the time he was 23 years old he had already received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He published his first book by the time he was 30, and began a 50-year teaching career, landing at Yale in 1962.