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