James Barr, noted linguist and biblical scholoar, died last Saturday at the age of 82. Ironically, even though he was a critic of the inerrancy of scripture, his watershed book The Semantics of Biblical Language helped all of us to avoid the linguistic fallacies that bedeviled previous generations of exegetes. Without Barr, errors such as “illegitimate totality transfer” would still be common fare among scholars and pastors alike. Even today, my own teaching of Hermeneutics is impacted by James Barr’s work. James Barr,
Times of London
(HT: Mike Bird)
My mentor, the late S. Lewis Johnson, Jr, studied under James Barr in Scotland in the early 60’s. He said Barr was one of the most rigerous teachers he ever( he met one on one with Barr for Hebrew exegesis at 6:00 in an drafy Scottish classroom).