Sunday, August 9, 2009

Graham Stanton, 1940-2009, RIP

Arguably NZ's greatest biblical scholar, Graham Stanton, Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge, has died.

Notice of his death, and a brief memorial is posted here.

It was my privilege as a theological student in Dunedin to hear Graham Stanton lecture at the Knox Theological Hall in 1985 or 86, and later to meet up with him briefly at a conference in the UK in the early 1990s. More recently I reviewed one of his books, which he noticed because he mentioned it to an uncle of mine who lives in Cambridge!

He was a gentle man, a generous scholar, and a gracious Christian.

For a fuller obituary, see here.


  1. "Yes, the University’s motto is potentially subversive, for it subverts many of the values taken for granted today by Governments, opinion formers, and even the educational elite the world over.”"

    'Sapere aude' is of course the Enlightenment motto, cited by Kant in his essay 'Was ist Aufklaerung?', where 'daring to be wise' meant using human reason instead of following religious authority and revelation. A Christian can nicely subvert this naive trust in human reason (which may often mean little more than conformism today) to point to the true source of wisdom in 'the fear of the Lord'.
    I am told that Professor Stanton kept teaching as long as he could, even when it meant being wheeled into the lecture hall. He was very warmly regarded.

  2. I had the unexpected privilege of having Professor Stanton as my overseas PhD examiner in 2003. His comments on my thesis were detailed and gracious. He was entirely fair in his insistence that I strengthen my argument at one crucial point. Two years later, he responded to my email requesting a meeting with him during a visit to the Cambridge, regretting that he would be unable to welcome me as a fellow New Zealander and give me a tour of the university (something far beyond my actual request), as he was recovering from a battle with melonoma. Since then I have felt closely connected with him as a human being and fellow believer, in addition to my long-time respect for his scholarship. He was indeed one of our few Kiwi stars in the guild of biblical scholars.
    Haere ra i te rangimarie o te Atua, e rangatira.