Baker Academic

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Goodbye Jack (1932-2016)

I was one of the many, many junior colleagues that worked with Jacob Neusner on a book project. I did not know Jack well enough to reflect on his oceanic career or unique personality. You might, however, have a look at Shaul Magid's obituary.

Bruce Chilton will be speaking at his funeral tomorrow and posting his reflection on the SBL webpage soon. Bruce will talk a bit about Jack's, "punch-in-the-nose prose" (Neusner's self description). No doubt, he could be a bear. I will hasten to add that he was always very kind to me. Jack told me in 2012 that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Indeed, it took something as serious as Parkinson's to slow down the most prodigious pace of publication in history.

I will just say one word about him. Jack knew who he was and didn't pretend to be anything else. I once asked to interview him on a matter related to Jesus studies. He wrote back, "I am not a scholar of Jesus. I did some secondary and derivative work. It's not the same thing as knowing the subject well." When I reminded him that he had written more on Jesus than most specialists and that indeed one of his books on Jesus got him an audience with the Pope, he wrote, "I don't want to represent myself as something I am not."

May we all be as self aware when we have published over 900 books.


1 comment:

  1. Great reflection Anthony. Thanks for sharing this. Requiescat in pace.