On Michael Goulder
- To: Crosstalk
Cc: Synoptic, GPG
On: Michael Goulder
Thanks to Robert Brenchley for announcing his new blog on Crosstalk. I
took a look at it, and was surprised to learn from it of the death of
Michael Goulder this past January. Somehow that fact deserved to be
more than incidentally mentioned among us.
Michael, in my eyes, was one of the great figures of 20th century NT
scholarship; his work on the Psalms also seems likely to be enduring.
His contribution was not a closed one, meaning only that there is
still a place for the rest of us to try to add to what he did. And it
was an optimistic one, perhaps reposing more confidence in the
rationality of his colleagues in the field than the majority of them
have yet justified in practice, but the current century is young yet,
and we shall perhaps see.
The wit and also the generosity of his contributions to the NT
journals are also, in their way, permanent contributions to the field:
This is how one can productively hold a discussion with those with
whom one differs on this point or that. Lightness is a very suitable
accompaniment to sobriety.
Michael's exact dates were 31 May 1927 ? 6 January 2010. Should either
of them be observed in the trade as an anniversary? Perhaps the
preface date of one of his books would be a more suitable memorial to
his monumental contribution. Life is a mountain which all of us reach
the top of, sooner or later, but the heights achieved by Michael in
some of his works, few can scale. Unfortunately for this thought, it
seems to have been Michael's habit to date his prefaces by month and
not by day. Perhaps someone who knows his life and work well can
suggest a suitable occasion, to add to the calendar of remembrance.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst