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  1. May 8, 2013 7:10 pm

    In marginally related news, Geza Vermes has also passec from this life.

    The flag of my heart flies at half-mast.

  2. May 8, 2013 7:44 pm

    Am saddened by this loss. He was one of a kind and has greatly impacted my life.

  3. May 9, 2013 3:33 am

    Kurk: Thanks for posting this blog post; although I am not familiar with Willard’s work, I found it moving.

    Brant: I did know Geza Vermes’s work. I did not hear that he died yesterday. Thanks for sharing that (sad) news.

  4. May 9, 2013 8:06 am

    Geza Vermes we have to thank for the translation of The Dead Sea Scrolls in English. Here’s Colin Garbarino’s tribute to Vermes, mentioning some of his other impacting works.

    Thanks Brant and Jen and Theophrastus for responding here to the news about Willard’s passing and impact.

    Cancer is such an ugly disease. What loss we share. May better preventions and the cure come quickly.

  5. May 9, 2013 9:20 am

    From Vermes in his own words, here’s more of his story, of what motivated him:

  6. Dana Ames permalink
    May 9, 2013 10:16 am

    Thanks Kurk. Willard’s “Divine Conspiracy” changed my life, all for the better.

    You may be interested to know that in the last 15 years or so, his home church was a Vineyard (the second one, a friendly split from Kenn Gullickson’s church in Santa Monica in the 1970s, so that folks in the San Fernando Valley wouldn’t have to drive so far). This was our church when we lived in the LA area. On a visit in the early 2000s, I was blessed to be able to tell Dallas how grateful I have been for DC.

    Sorry to hear about Vermes as well. Willard prepared my mind and soul to read N.T. Wright; if not for the latter, I would not even know who Vermes is…


  7. May 9, 2013 11:17 am

    Marc Goodacre’s tribute to Vermes is here. Goodacre writes:

    Vermes continued to draw attention to reading early Christian texts in conversation with a proper knowledge of early Jewish texts. He never saw these texts as “background”. This was not “the World of the New Testament”. Instead, these texts were themselves evidence in the quest, themselves part of the conversation. His enduring legacy was in the subtitle of Jesus the Jew — “A Historian’s Reading of the Gospels”. Again it might sound hackneyed now, but that itself is largely the result of Vermes’s work — he stressed the importance of reading the Gospels as a historian would read them. He was effectively democratizing the quest of the historical Jesus. Like all good history, it should not matter who is asking the questions. Like all good history, the study is open to all, no longer thickly mired in the theological agendas of those engaging in the enquiry.

    Vermes was, it seemed to me, all about conversation across ordinary lines. His brilliant revision (together with Fergus Millar and Martin Goodman) of Emil Schurer’s 19th century History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ was a conversation among scholars across a century and across religions. For me, it was a seminal text. His “Jesus the Jew” books (Jesus the Jew, Jesus in his Jewish Context, The Religion of Jesus the Jews, The Changing Faces of Jesus, The Authentic Gospel of Jesus, Jesus: Nativity, Passion, Resurrection, and The Real Jesus) directly put ancient documents in conversation with each other. His history of Christianity’s first three centuries focuses on the Jewish-Christian interaction and was warmly reviewed by Rowan Williams.

  8. May 9, 2013 8:41 pm

    Thank you so very much for sharing how you changed by reading The Divine Conspiracy and the personal things about Dallas Willard that clearly informed his thinking. It’s wonderful that you and he met! Sounds as if he’s continuing to impact you, as you are introduced to other thinkers and writers who introduce you further to others.

    Thanks for linking to and excerpting from Marc Goodacre’s tribute. Thank you for sharing how Vermes’s work was influential to you. (I do believe that Williams is too hard on Vermes.)

  9. May 14, 2013 10:26 am

    Here’s from Susan Bell for USC regarding Dallas Willard:


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