Monday, May 13, 2013


GEZA VERMES passed away last week (1924-2013). I had one personal encounter with the renowned Oxford scholar. In 2011, he agreed to an interview with Criswell Theological Review (CTR), which I edited at the time, on the subject of the Jewish roots of the NT. I sent him twelve questions, dealing with a range of topics from the Dead Sea Scrolls to Jewish roots of the gospel. I opened with a question about his own spiritual journey from Judaism to Catholicism and back to Judaism. To my surprise Vermes responded with a scathing email cancelling the interview and charging that I was trying to trap him and make him look foolish. I fact, I had just completed reading his autobiography PROVIDENTIAL ACCIDENTS and thought our readers might be interested in his story. Despite my pleadings with him and assuring him I had the purist of motives, the venerable octogenarian stuck to his guns. As a result CTR subscribers were deprived of his insights.

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