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[Synoptic-L] In Memoriam - William R. Farmer

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  • Thomas R. W. Longstaff
    With sadness we mark end of an era of New Testament Studies. Yesterday afternoon (December 30), following a prolonged battle with cancer, William R. Farmer
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 31, 2000
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      With sadness we mark end of an era of New Testament Studies.
       
      Yesterday afternoon (December 30), following a prolonged battle with
      cancer, William R. Farmer died in Dallas, Texas.
       
      Bill will be remembered by most people for his contributions to
      gospel studies, and especially his work on the synoptic problem.
      Those who knew him well will also remember his lifelong commitment
      to social justice and his courageous stand, especially with people of
      color, in their struggle for equality.
       
      Our thoughts and prayers will help to support Bill's wife Nell and his
      children in their loss.
       
      While there is much more to be said about Bill's life and work, it
      seemed to me appropriate to share this sad news with members of
      Synoptic-L today.
       
      Dr. Thomas R. W. Longstaff
      Crawford Family Professor
      Department of Religious Studies
      Colby College
      4643 Mayflower Hill
      Waterville, ME 04901-8846
      Tel: (207) 872-3150
      FAX: (207) 872-3802
    • Jeff Peterson
      Thanks to Prof. Longstaff for communicating the sad news about Prof. Farmer s death. I heard him speak publicly only once, as respondent to a paper by Daryl
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 1, 2001
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        Thanks to Prof. Longstaff for communicating the sad news about Prof.
        Farmer's death. I heard him speak publicly only once, as respondent to a paper
        by Daryl Schmidt of Texas Christian University, and I was struck by the
        emphasis that he gave to possible areas of common ground between them. I
        gather this was characteristic, and in personal conversation I always
        found him unfailingly gracious, even about matters of disagreement. He
        will of course be remembered for his contributions to Gospel scholarship
        internationally, but in the Southwestern US also for his support of
        various forums for scholarly discussion, notably the Seminar on the
        Development of Early Catholic Christianity which he was instrumental in
        establishing along with Albert Outler, Stuart Curry, Everett Ferguson,
        and others. Requiscat in pace.

        Jeff Peterson
        Institute for Christian Studies
        Austin, Texas

        Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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      • Stephen C. Carlson
        ... This is indeed sad news. I have never had an opportunity to meet Prof. Farmer personally (though he once sat briefly in the row behind me at a Matthew
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 1, 2001
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          At 09:36 AM 12/31/00 -0500, Thomas R. W. Longstaff wrote:
          > With sadness we mark end of an era of New Testament Studies.
          >Yesterday afternoon (December 30), following a prolonged battle with
          >cancer, William R. Farmer died in Dallas, Texas.

          This is indeed sad news.

          I have never had an opportunity to meet Prof. Farmer personally
          (though he once sat briefly in the row behind me at a Matthew
          seminar in the Orlando '98 meeting of the SBL), but his presence
          will continue to be felt through his writings and especially his
          students.

          In the 1960s, he was a voice calling in the wilderness of synoptic
          source criticism, but he has nonetheless developed and nutured a
          new generation of top-notched source critics. This fact to me, if
          anything, demonstrates that he was more than a scholar but a great
          teacher who went beyond instruction to inspiration, generating
          excitement in a field that far too many ignored as dry.

          Stephen Carlson
          --
          Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
          Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
          "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35

          Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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        • Thomas R. W. Longstaff
          I have just spoken with Bill Farmer s daughter who tells me that a memorial service for her father will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 3rd at Holy
          Message 4 of 6 , Jan 1, 2001
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            I have just spoken with Bill Farmer's daughter who tells me that a memorial
            service for her father will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 3rd
            at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Dallas.

            Those who wish to make contributions to celebrate his life may send them to:

            The Holy Cross in Encuentro 2000 Project
            Holy Cross Catholic Church
            4910 Bonnie View Road
            Dallas, TX 75241

            This project, designed to increase communication and cooperation across
            cultural and racial lines was very important to Bill.

            At an appropriate moment I will share with Nell and the children the
            responses on Synoptic-L to my notice of Bill's death.

            Dr. Thomas R. W. Longstaff
            Crawford Family Professor
            Department of Religious Studies
            Colby College
            4643 Mayflower Hill
            Waterville, ME 04901-8846
            Tel: (207) 872-3150
            FAX: (207) 872-3802


            Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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          • Michael Burer
            I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Farmer rather recently. He came to lecture for a day in early December for our Synoptic Gospels class at Dallas Theological
            Message 5 of 6 , Jan 2, 2001
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              I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Farmer rather recently. He came to
              lecture for a day in early December for our Synoptic Gospels class at Dallas
              Theological Seminary. We had been interacting with his book all semester, so
              it was very rewarding to meet him in person and interact with him personally
              about his views. Dr. Hoehner, our professor for this class, has very high
              regard for him, and after meeting him I understood why: Dr. Farmer was very
              fair and even-handed in his treatment of differing views, all the while
              being extremely thorough and exact in explaining his own. He was a scholar
              worthy of emulation, and I hope that I can build in my life the excellent
              qualities which marked his own.

              Grace to all,
              Michael Burer
              Ph.D. Student
              Dallas Theological Seminary


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            • Mark Goodacre
              I would like to add my own heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Bill Farmer. The academic world will mourn the loss of a great scholar and a
              Message 6 of 6 , Jan 3, 2001
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                I would like to add my own heartfelt condolences to the family and
                friends of Bill Farmer. The academic world will mourn the loss of a
                great scholar and a fine human being. To me, one of his most
                remarkable achievements was his success in combining a robust,
                critical challenge to standard views with a graciousness in relating
                to advocates of all views.

                Others have spoken of the friendly and enthusiastic way he related
                to scholars even of differing perspectives. Although at the
                beginning of my academic career, I was repeatedly and warmly
                encouraged by Bill Farmer on each of the five occasions when I
                have met him. On one of these occasions, in Birmingham in 1997,
                Bill said to me "Your belief in Marcan Priority is not a problem to
                us", which at the time surprised me but on reflection was typical of
                his graciousness in embracing our agreement (dispensing with Q)
                rather than focusing on our disagreement, at the same time
                nurturing a spirit of cooperation between New Testament scholars
                of different backgrounds and different generations.

                In the limited time I spent with him, I was impressed by his ability
                to listen to others and to take seriously the points they were
                making. I remember well the great anxiety he felt at the
                Strasbourg SNTS in 1996 when Michael Goulder expressed his
                lack of ease with the term "Two Gospel Hypothesis" (since his
                theory also is a kind of "two gospel" hypothesis) and as a result he
                announced his concerns in the Synoptic Problem seminar.

                It is a tribute to him also that he was still engaging in serious
                scholarship right to the end of his life -- I was happy and privileged
                to join with Bill and his colleagues in the Research Team of the
                International Institute for the Renewal of Gospel Studies for a
                discussion of Tim Friedrichsen's extended review and critique of
                _Beyond the Q Impasse_ at the recent SBL meeting in Nashville.
                His contribution to that discussion was typical of those each time I
                have met him -- sharp and critical of of certain views while friendly,
                cordial and open to those advocating them.

                I am grateful for what he has done to "renew gospel studies" by
                challenging us to think in fresh ways, for refusing to accept the
                consensus simply because it is the consensus, but most of all for
                encouraging scholars to work together in the kind of collegial spirit
                that is all too often lacking in the discipline. We will honour his
                memory if we attempt to work in the kind of ecumenical and
                cooperative spirit that will make life, both inside and outside the
                academy, more fruitful and whole.

                Mark
                -----------------------------
                Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
                Birmingham B15 2TT
                United Kingdom

                http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
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