Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Geza Vermes, 1924-2013

SAD NEWS: I have just received word from Oxford that Professor Emeritus Geza Vermes died this morning after the recurrence of an illness. I had been corresponding with him recently and knew that he was unwell because he had to miss my lecture last week in Oxford, but I was hoping for good news rather than this.

Geza Vermes was a tremendously influential figure in the the field of ancient Judaism, especially, but by no means exclusively, the Dead Sea Scrolls. He also wrote a great deal about Christian origins and the historical Jesus. In addition to being a scholar he was a true gentleman. I will miss him a great deal. May his memory be for a blessing.

Here is the bereavement notice from David Ariel, which was fowarded by Alison Salvesen:
Dear Colleague

I am deeply saddened to inform you that our dear friend, Professor Geza Vermes, passed away this morning after a recent recurrence of cancer. Margaret, Geza's wife, just called with the sad news and asked that I let you know.

Geza was Professor Emeritus of Jewish Studies at Oxford, a Governor and strong advocate of the Centre, and was recently appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Centre. His scholarship on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Jewishness of Jesus was truly pioneering and transformative. Geza was also a lovely human being and a friend and mentor to many of us. He will be deeply missed.

There are no funeral plans as yet but we will notify you if and when it is appropriate.

May Margaret be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may Geza's memory be for a blessing.

David Ariel, PhD
Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies
Yarnton Manor
Yarnton, Oxford
United Kingdom
UPDATE (9 May): Mark Goodacre has a long post on Professor Vermes at the NT Blog.