News of the death of C.K. Barrett, one of the most influential New Testament scholars of the 20th century, is making its way around the blogosphere. Barrett held the prestigious chair of Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham University, UK from 1958-1982. My doktorvater, Jimmy Dunn, succeeded Barrett holding the chair until his retirement in 2003. Jimmy posted the following on his Facebook page:
Hi everyone. You will be saddened to hear that Kingsley Barrett, my predecessor, died last night (6.30 pm, 26.08.11) - aged 94. He was the greatest UK commentator on NT texts since J. B. Lightfoot, and much loved by a wide range of Methodist chapels to which he ministered for about 60 years. He will be much missed, but his commentaries will live on for many years, providing information and insight to future generations of students of the NT.
I remember two wonderful encounters with Professor Barrett. The first was as a young student at Ashland Theological Seminary when he came to lecture. My teacher at the time, Ben Witherington, hosted a Q & A session with Barrett during class. I spoke for several minutes with him afterward. He was unassuming and very helpful as he answered my questions. It made a big impression on me.
The second incident was in Durham, while I was working on my Ph.D. We were preparing for our weekly postgraduate seminar on a Monday evening, when Dr. Barrett walked in the room to attend and listen to the paper that was going to be presented. The entire room stood at attention almost immediately as he walked through the door, as if a Supreme Court justice had entered. Such was the respect he had earned.
His commentaries are still among the best out there. He was a solid exegete whose work will and should be felt for decades to come.
Thank you, Kingsley Barrett for your life and for your faithful witness to the Gospel!