Thursday, March 24, 2016

In Memoriam: James M. Robinson

(June 30, 1924 - March 22, 2016)

I met James Robinson in 2004, when I started my Ph.D. program in Religion (New Testament) at Claremont. Although this was my first meeting in person, I had known about him for a long time. He was an international star in New Testament studies. He served as the General Editor of the Nag Hammadi Library. He was the founder and director of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity and the International Q Project, and served as co-editor of The Critical Edition of Q. I was thrilled when he agreed to direct my Q studies. Jim and I met every week in the IAC Library and worked through his collected essays on the Sayings Gospel Q. We would also meet at his house where he generously shared many of the insights, stories, and knowledge from his long career. Jim was a guiding force on my dissertation committee and graciously described my first book, Jesus, Q, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, as "a new stage in the study of first-century Judaism and Christianity." A couple of years later, I dedicated my JBL article to him ("Why Do You Call Me 'Master?' Q 6:46, the Inaugural Sermon, and the Demands of Discipleship,"). He called it Jesus' "hardest" saying. He was a great scholar, mentor, and friend. I'm going to miss him.