Tag Archives: James Barr

Why Do We Have a New Testament?

According to James Barr, R.H. Lightfoot once claimed that the origin of the New Testament should be sought in the moment the early Chris­tians, under the impression of the first Roman persecutions, lost faith in the survival of their religion. As a result of their fear, they decided to write down their traditions and recollections, in order that these might not be lost or deliberately perverted.  (Cited by NP Lemche in his essay ‘The Old Testament: A Hellenistic Book).

Lightfoot is probably right.  And if so, it’s a good thing that they were driven by the fear of extinction.  History has shown their fear to be misplaced but the result of that fear is itself a historical monument without which the world would be an utterly different place.

On The Anniversary of James Barr’s Death

It was the 14th of October, 2006 (it doesn’t seem like it has been 11 years) that James Barr, one of the most brilliant Old Testament scholars of our day (or any day) died.    Academically speaking, he’s my grandpa.  Both of my major Professors in Seminary, Sam Balentine and John Durham studied with Barr at Oxford.

All those who knew Professor Barr were forever changed by the encounter.  May his name continue to be a blessing and his work an influence.

Oh That’s Very Exciting Indeed!

I got a letter today from Oxford University Press that they’re sending along the three volume edition of James Barr’s essays edited by John Barton for review.  Oh. Happy. Day.  Be sure, when they arrive I’ll note it.  It will be a happy day indeed and it will give me enough to read so that I don’t descend into the pits of laziness so familiar to my indolent and Watts-ian soul.

This is

  • A major collection of James Barr’s work, celebrating the influence of a key scholar in twentieth-century biblical studies and theology
  • Thematically organised for ease of study with a new introduction to each volume by John Barton
  • Draws together hard-to-access journal articles, dictionary definitions, reviews, book chapters, and obituaries to give a coherent picture of the development of Barr’s work spanning over four decades
  • Includes a new biographical essay on Barr by two leading experts in biblical studies, Ernest Nicholson and John Barton

Oh. Happy. Day! Thanks in advance O.U.P. More anon…

Bible and Interpretation: The Collected Essays of James Barr Volumes I-III James Barr Edited by John Barton

Speaking of Prof. Barr, I knew this was in the works but had not yet seen the advert, so many thanks to David Lincicum for the heads up.

Bible and Interpretation: The Collected Essays of James Barr Volumes I-III, James Barr, Edited by John Barton.

This is a three volume collection of the most important published papers of James Barr (1924-2006). The papers deal with questions of theology (especially biblical theology), biblical interpretation and ideas about biblical inspiration and authority, and questions to do with biblical Hebrew and Greek, along with several lexicographical studies, essays and obituaries on major figures in the history of biblical interpretation, and a number of important reviews. Many of pieces collected here have hitherto been available only in journals and hard-to-access collections.

It’s a bit pricey but maybe I can save up the $400 it will be in a year.

Remembering James Barr

It was the 14th of October, 2006 (has it already been 5 years???!!!) that James Barr, one of the most brilliant Old Testament scholars of our day (or any day) died.  That November at SBL his wonderful wife stood in a session dedicated to his memory and told us such wonderful things.

Academically speaking, he’s my grandpa.  Both of my major Professors in Seminary, Sam Balentine and John Durham studied with Barr at Oxford.

A couple of years later, in March (2008) at the Southeast Region of the SBL there was a session devoted to his work as well and once again his wife was there and shared.  We had – afterwards – a very fine chat together.  She’s as wonderful a person as he was.

All those who knew Professor Barr were forever changed by the encounter.  May his name continue to be a blessing and his work an influence.

In Memoriam James Barr

James Barr, one of the most exacting Old Testament scholars of the past generation, passed away at his home in Claremont California on 14 October, 2006.  It’s hard to believe that it has been 4 years.

Barr is well known as a scholar and a bird watcher (a hobby he loved very much).  He was also Doktorvater of two of my Seminary Professors, John Durham and Sam Balentine.  He wrote tremendously useful volumes and was a probing critic.  People who learned that he would review their books shook in their boots because he would discover, and gleefully and snarkily point out every lapse of judgment and fault of logic.

After his death there were memorial sessions at both the national SBL and the Southeastern regional SBL.  I was fortunate enough to have attended them both.

In attendance was Professor Barr’s wife, a purely delightful woman.

Scholars of Barr’s abilities don’t come along that often.  So when they do, they should be celebrated and remembered.   Lest we forget…