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Again on Michael Goulder

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Crosstalk Cc: Synoptic, GPG With Thanks To: David Mealand (Edinburgh) Again On: Michael Goulder From: Bruce I am grateful to David for sending me the
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 20, 2010
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      To: Crosstalk
      Cc: Synoptic, GPG
      With Thanks To: David Mealand (Edinburgh)
      Again On: Michael Goulder
      From: Bruce

      I am grateful to David for sending me the official Birmingham notice
      of Michael's death, which I repeat here for what interest it may have
      beyond that circle:

      -----BIRMINGHAM NOTICE-------

      Professor Michael Goulder died on 6 January at the age of 82. Educated
      at Eton and then at Trinity College Oxford, and spending some years in
      Hong Kong, Michael taught from 1966 until his retirement in 1993 in
      what, when he arrived was known as Extra Mural Studies, lecturing also
      occasionally in the Theology Department. He built up many courses
      around the West Midlands, and his exciting teaching and ideas inspired
      many in the field of Biblical Studies. He also played an important
      role in the Black and White Partnership, a teaching programme which
      brought together people from many strands in the church life of
      Birmingham. This was especially remarkable given the development of
      his own thought, which led from being an Anglican priest to what he
      called an "unaggressive atheist."

      He had one of the most original and powerful minds of his generation,
      and spanned the very separate fields of Hebrew Bible and New Testament
      studies in a way unique in the second half of the twentieth century.
      His most important contributions to New Testament scholarship included
      arguing long and forcibly for a fresh view of the relationship between
      the Gospels that overthrew a long consensus and led to a new
      generation of scholarship. He was also a noted authority on the
      Psalms. Michael was incisive in debate, with a brilliant wit. He was a
      sociable colleague, and to have lunch with him was inevitably to hear
      a new idea he was exploring and to have fresh light cast on one's own
      work. He was a generous friend, and encouraged countless scholars in
      their careers.

      David Parker, January 2010

      -------END BIRMINGHAM NOTICE

      Also somewhere in the picture are Michael's earlier years. I recall
      being touched and amused by his preface to Type and History in Acts
      (SPCK 1964), written before he went to Birmingham. By way of
      supplement to the above, I might venture to extract from the Acts
      preface the second paragraph and the final sentence of the last, plus
      the author's note on place and date:

      -------GOULDER on GOULDER (ACTS)

      "This book was written while I was Rector in sole charge of a parish
      of nine thousand people in Manchester, and the limitations imposed by
      this fact will be obvious to the most cursory reader. I do not possess
      a specialist knowledge of the background of either the Greek or the
      Jewish worlds on the frontiers of which the Acts of the Apostles were
      performed and written, and I have read only a selection of the big
      modern literature available. My book is therefore not definitive, and
      it is my sincere hope that those who possess such specialist knowledge
      will be able to put in better perspective some of the things which I
      have said."

      " . . . and to the people of St Christopher's, Withington, from whom
      many of the hours of composition were taken without asking, but who
      may perhaps have benefited from their Rector's understanding of the
      Acts of those who were apostles before him"

      "Union Theological College, Hongkong, September 1963"

      -----END GOULDER ON GOULDER (ACTS)

      That, to me, already has all the mixed modesty and insouciance of the
      later Michael. Perhaps if we are still looking for a commemorative
      date, St Christopher's Day (variously observed, or disobserved, but 25
      July stands out as fresh and nearby) would do well enough, as
      remembering the Sitz im Anglicanism of Michael's first scholarly opus,
      the tug between pen and pulpit in which his career seems to have been
      set. That will be a Sunday. Perhaps they may like to ring an extra
      bell in Withington,

      Affectionately submitted,

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • Mark Goodacre
      Thanks for mentioning the sad death of Michael Goulder here, Bruce. It is indeed surprising that it had not been mentioned on Synoptic-L or Xtalk and I
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 20, 2010
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        Thanks for mentioning the sad death of Michael Goulder here, Bruce. It is
        indeed surprising that it had not been mentioned on Synoptic-L or Xtalk and
        I suppose it is an indication of just how far the centre of gravity for such
        things has moved to the blogs.

        I have gathered materials relating to Michael on my blog at
        http://ntweblog.blogspot.com/search/label/Michael%20Goulder, including The
        Times obituary, the address at his memorial service and so on.

        With best wishes
        Mark
        --
        Mark Goodacre
        Duke University
        Department of Religion
        Gray Building / Box 90964
        Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
        Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530

        http://www.markgoodacre.org


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • E Bruce Brooks
        Mark, Thanks for the reference, and perhaps especially the pictures. It all helps. One correction, though: Michael s memoir Five Stones has been published, and
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 20, 2010
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          Mark,

          Thanks for the reference, and perhaps especially the pictures. It all
          helps. One correction, though: Michael's memoir Five Stones has been
          published, and is available through the usual channels.

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
        • Mark Goodacre
          Thanks, Bruce. Yes, the memoir came out last September; it may be that you missed the date stamp on that post. All best, Mark ... -- Mark Goodacre Duke
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 21, 2010
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            Thanks, Bruce. Yes, the memoir came out last September; it may be
            that you missed the date stamp on that post. All best, Mark

            On 20 July 2010 23:18, E Bruce Brooks <brooks@...> wrote:
            > Mark,
            >
            > Thanks for the reference, and perhaps especially the pictures. It all helps.
            > One correction, though: Michael's memoir Five Stones has been published, and
            > is available through the usual channels.
            >
            > Bruce
            >
            > E Bruce Brooks
            > Warring States Project
            > University of Massachusetts at Amherst
            >
            >



            --
            Mark Goodacre
            Duke University
            Department of Religion
            Gray Building / Box 90964
            Durham, NC 27708-0964    USA
            Phone: 919-660-3503        Fax: 919-660-3530

            http://www.markgoodacre.org
          • Rikk Watts
            I remember meeting Michael at the British SNTS OT in NT seminar at Hawarden back in the late eighties when I was doing my doc at Cambs. There were only a
            Message 5 of 6 , Jul 22, 2010
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              I remember meeting Michael at the British SNTS OT in NT seminar at Hawarden
              back in the late eighties when I was doing my doc at Cambs. There were only
              a handful of us and the weekend provided many opportunities to get to know
              people a bit better. We had a long chat one afternoon for several hours
              about his journey, through some severe personal difficulties, from his
              youthful evangelicalism (of a kind) to his then more skeptical position. I
              learnt a great deal from our time, not least how important it was to hear
              about the personal story behind the scholar. I found him warm and engaging,
              and once the conversation turned to more personal and intimate matters
              transparent, open, and even vulnerable. I will always have very fond
              memories of Michael the man.

              Rikk Watts


              > From: Mark Goodacre <Goodacre@...>
              > Reply-To: xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
              > Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2010 06:21:22 -0400
              > To: E Bruce Brooks <brooks@...>
              > Cc: Synoptic <Synoptic@yahoogroups.com>, xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
              > Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Re: [XTalk] Again on Michael Goulder
              >
              > Thanks, Bruce. Yes, the memoir came out last September; it may be
              > that you missed the date stamp on that post. All best, Mark
              >
              > On 20 July 2010 23:18, E Bruce Brooks <brooks@...> wrote:
              >> Mark,
              >>
              >> Thanks for the reference, and perhaps especially the pictures. It all helps.
              >> One correction, though: Michael's memoir Five Stones has been published, and
              >> is available through the usual channels.
              >>
              >> Bruce
              >>
              >> E Bruce Brooks
              >> Warring States Project
              >> University of Massachusetts at Amherst
              >>
              >>
              >
              >
              >
              > --
              > Mark Goodacre
              > Duke University
              > Department of Religion
              > Gray Building / Box 90964
              > Durham, NC 27708-0964    USA
              > Phone: 919-660-3503        Fax: 919-660-3530
              >
              > http://www.markgoodacre.org
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
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            • E Bruce Brooks
              To: Crosstalk Cc: Synoptic, GPG, WSW On: Auch Kleine Dinge: In Memoriam Michael Goulder Date: 25 July 2010 Time: A little past midnight From: Bruce In my
              Message 6 of 6 , Jul 24, 2010
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                To: Crosstalk
                Cc: Synoptic, GPG, WSW
                On: Auch Kleine Dinge: In Memoriam Michael Goulder
                Date: 25 July 2010
                Time: A little past midnight
                From: Bruce

                In my latitude, 25 July has just begun; formerly St Christopher's Day,
                now the day appointed for the recollection of the person and notable
                achievements of Michael Goulder, at one time Rector of St
                Christopher's, Withington.

                What form of recollection would be most suitable, for a scholarly
                discoverer of the first magnitude? As I have elsewhere said of the
                Sinologist George Kennedy, perhaps the most suitable way to honor a
                discoverer is to keep on discovering. I would thus take this memorial
                day as a time for reminding ourselves of our obligation to improve and
                extend, and not merely to appreciate, what has been given to us by
                previous scholarly achievement.

                This does not mean writing another five books on the Psalms, or
                another two volumes on Luke, to match Michael in shelf inches. The
                point is not to match, but to continue, and for most of us, unsituated
                as we are for continuous scholarly investigation, the continuity must
                necessarily be in small modules. But the small modules should do more
                than talk to themselves. How then shall they get into the continuing
                stream of scholarly discourse?

                One traditional method is not the book, but the chapter: the small
                contribution bundled with others to make a larger contribution. The
                academic Festschrift is a not wholly functional example of this mode.
                I have before me an interesting variation. It is W K Lowther Clarke's
                book New Testament Problems (Macmillan 1929), written before 7 July
                1937 and thus while philology was still more or less alive. It was
                dedicated to Clarke's teacher Foakes-Jackson, in lieu of the 70th
                birthday Festschrift which never happened. Clarke himself had no time
                to be a scholar; as he says in his dedicatory epistle, by getting him
                an editorial position in the field, "You prevented me from writing the
                theological books I had planned." Clarke was the Editorial Secretary
                of SPCK, a reviewer of other people's stuff, reading, as he says,
                about 1000 books a year, and with no time to do anything but distil
                his impressions of them and pass selected impressions on to the
                qualified general reader. His book is a further selection of those
                impressions, developed as topical essays originally printed in such
                church magazines as Church Quarterly Review, Expository Times, and
                Review of the Churches. There are 23 essays in 217 pages, or about 9
                pages each. They show him acting on what he has read, not merely
                taking it in. They show a commendable balance of mind and concision of
                style. I recommend them.

                Still more do I recommend this medium: the short piece shown to others
                as a contribution to the general flow of collective knowledge of the
                subject. Books these days run to the hundreds of pages, and they
                increasingly retail in the hundreds of dollars. That is a path of
                self-extinction, and I need say no more of it, save that the typical
                book is also overdeveloped to the point of self-refutation, in its
                push (while the author is typically in his twenties, and green behind
                the ears) to be "definitive." The shorter note, by contrast, is more
                often content to be suggestive; to leave something for others to
                develop. The attempt (of which the tragic figure of Einstein should be
                a sufficiently minatory example) to finish the work, to do more than,
                under present conditions of knowledge, can be well done, is to spoil
                the work.

                The journal is maybe a little better. True, articles in journals (such
                is the page-count pressure of the obsolete yet persistent tenure
                system) tend to be ever longer: monographs in all but binding. The day
                when a half-page note was regularly seen in the Journal of the
                American Oriental Society is long gone. But there are other journals
                (the one I am currently launching has a median length of 4 pages, and
                we routinely refuse articles which reach the lower threshold of
                alternate journals, namely 20 pages). And the tendency to gigantism
                and to gigantistic pricing can also be resisted by societies or other
                journal proprietors who decline to sell out to Cambridge and Company,
                simply by declining. Forbearance is among the cardinal scholarly
                virtues; the seed and mother of the other virtues. I recommend that too.

                A more recent possibility is the electronic forum. These die more
                rapidly than journals, they silt up with nonlookers, they turn trivial
                or fall silent. But again, in the nature of things, this need not be
                the case. It is merely (it seems to me) that the art of managing such
                a conversation is still in its infancy, whereas the editorship of
                paper media has a more developed tradition of procedure to rely on. We
                might thus withhold a judgement of perdition on the attempts, so far,
                to get something of the sort going on the airwaves.

                As I have elsewhere observed of the Warring States (classical Chinese)
                texts, things like this need institutional continuity in order to
                survive and maintain ongoing vitality. They can't be too individual or
                too circumstantial; or if they start so, they need to be able to
                outgrow themselves and get onto a longer track. They need to enter,
                and then to survive, their adolescence.

                Probably no focus of intellectual exchange has ever been more
                productive, per pint consumed, than the coffeehouses of London, in
                which the Royal Society would continue its meetings, and the merchants
                would get together to balance risks, and Richard Steele would edit the
                Guardian, and the gamblers would summon de Moivre from his chess game
                to calculate odds for them, thus creating (together with the work of
                Bernoulli in Switzerland) the science of statistics.

                So another thing we could perhaps use in the current century is a
                counterpart to Slaughter's Coffee House. At what commercial but
                welcoming venue could the heirs and assigns of Goulder conveniently
                meet, this afternoon, to exchange individual observations and develop
                collective hypotheses?

                Papa Gino, anyone?

                Bruce

                E Bruce Brooks
                Warring States Project
                University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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