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

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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 1 of 6 , Jan 2, 2001
      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 2 of 6 , Jan 3, 2001
        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

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