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2487correction to N. Y. Times obit for Geza Vermes

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  • Stephen Goranson
    May 22 6:28 AM
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      The N.Y. Times published on May 16 an obituary for Geza Vermes. He was indeed an influential scholar who made many important contributions. One I especially appreciate is his revision (with Fergus Millar et al.) of Emil Schürer's The history of the Jewish people in the age of Jesus Christ.
      But that obit also included the following: "He received his doctorate in theology from the Catholic University in Louvain in 1953; his dissertation was the first written about the scrolls." That is false.
      Samuel Iwry's Ph.D. dissertation, "The Damascus Document and the Dead Sea Scrolls," advised by Wm. F. Albright at Johns Hopkins, was completed in 1951.
      Vermes wrote (in The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls [1997]) that the proposal that the Teacher of Righteousness lived in the time of Jonathan or Simon "was first formulated in my 1952 doctoral dissertation, published in 1953 and was soon adopted with variations in detail by such leading specialists as J. T. Milik, F. M. Cross and R. de Vaux." That is the case, though in my view, the proposal placed the teacher about five decades too early, as explained here:
      In any case, I emailed the correction (with documents of evidence) on Friday May 15. I have heard back, but, as of now, five days later, no correction has been posted.

      Stephen Goranson

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