James Barr, 1924-2006
I just learned that well-known biblical scholar, James Barr, died four days ago in Claremont California at the age of 82. This was an OT scholar who really impacted the field. Along with Childs, Barr helped redirect the whole field of biblical studies by undermining the foundations of the "biblical theology movement" of the post-WW2 period. Barr is the chief reason we don't assign "word studies" in our classes anymore, which used to be a central student exercise! I never got to know James Barr, but got very familiar with his thought through the long-running friendly feud between him and Brevard Childs. I remember Childs assembling a special lunch meeting of us grad students to talk about a most recent package from Barr, which contained his latest article that we all had to read. Barr had scribbled a "friendly" note across the top to Bard referring to their ongoing critiques of each other, something to the effect of "this one's damage is not all that serious."