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James Barr 3/20/1924-10/14/2006

October 19, 2006

barr1.jpgI just learned on another blog (Euangelion) of the death of James Barr, who was a hebraist and a linguist, and something of a hero of mine. His well-thought approach to language stood as a corrective to scholars who knew perhaps a great deal of the detail of Hebrew, but maybe not so much about language itself. As if a doctor knew medicine but not anatomy, some of the pronouncements of semiticists have lacked understanding of the way human language actually works. His name came up in preparation for my recent posting “Spirit and Soul,” in regard to the “Hebrew view of man,” about which his remarks in his Semantics of Biblical Language are truly must reading.

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