James Barr 1924–2006

Ernest Nicholson and John Barton

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 153 Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, VII

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780197264348
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734250 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

James Barr 1924–2006

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James Barr (1924–2006), a Fellow of the British Academy, was a biblical scholar, Semitist, and theologian, who combined these three skills with exceptional brilliance. He was among the foremost biblical specialists of his generation, and for his depth of insight into the study of the Bible he was in a class of his own. Barr was born on March 20, 1924 in Glasgow. He never considered any other profession than the ministry of the Church of Scotland, and upon graduating proceeded to New College, Edinburgh to study theology and prepare for ordination. Barrs's first book, The Semantics of Biblical Language (Oxford, 1961), was a ‘landmark’ contribution in the history of twentieth-century biblical studies. In 1961, he migrated to the United States to take up an appointment as Professor of Old Testament Literature and Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. Barr returned to England in 1965 as Professor of Semitic Languages and Literatures at the University of Manchester. Despite his many honours, he retained a simplicity and straightforwardness of manner that endeared him to family and friends alike.

Keywords: James Barr; British Academy; Bible; Church of Scotland; biblical studies; theology; Biblical Language; Princeton Theological Seminary; University of Manchester

Chapter.  11758 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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