Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Scholar Who Will Be Missed: Harold Hoehner 1935-2009

Several evenings ago, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of the Seminar for the Discussion of Early Catholic Christianity. There Dr. Warren Carter from Brite Divinity School presented a paper: "Matthew: Empire, Synagogues, and Horizontal Violence." While the dialogue that evening certainly deserves comment, that shall have to wait for a later post. That evening, I sat next to Harold Hoehner, Distinguished Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. Little did I know, that night would be the last time I would encounter Dr. Hoehner on this side of the great divide. This morning, Dr. Hoehner passed on, leaving behind a cacophony of voices who will sorely miss him. Hoehner was a stalwart of scholarship, exemplified a charitable fair-mindedness, and without question played the most pivotal role in shaping the face of the New Testament department both in makeup and fundamental exegetical methodology over the past quarter century.

Although I was not personally one of Dr. Hoehner's students, my several encounters with him were always warm. He was understanding and very thoughtful. The other night, just in our casual conversation, these characteristics were apparent. He was interested in me and my studies. Upon hearing which undergraduate I attended, Professor Hoehner immediately brought up a former student of his, Bruce Rosdahl, who was one of my professors in undergraduate study. I remember being surprised by how sharp his mind was and how thoughtful a person he was to have paid such close attention to those whom he taught. I am grateful for having known him, even in a limited sense, and I express my deepest condolences both to his family and the Dallas Seminary family who will miss Dr. Hoehner. I am sure that more substantive accounts will be forthcoming from Hoehner's colleagues of the great legacy that he has left behind.

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