Geza Vermes

Now that I have been posting on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the historical Jesus, I would be remiss not to mention  that one of the absolutely great scholars of modern times, one of the world experts on both the Scrolls and Jesus, died several days ago.   Geza Vermes was a formidable scholar.   Of the three major English translations of the Scrolls, it is his that I typically use and prefer.   In the 1970s he began publishing a series of books on Jesus that did more than almost anything to push for the idea that if Jesus is to be understood, he must be understood as a first century Jew.   This was something of a novel idea at the time.  It has become the standard view that virtually every Jesus scholar on the planet shares. Vermes was a scholar’s scholar.  Professor at Oxford, he was an incredible linguist, intimately familiar with every ancient historical source of relevance, a creative thinker.    He wrote books for scholars but also books that were accessible to the educated layperson.   [...]