Sunday, February 19, 2006

Professor R. McL. Wilson's 90th Birthday

Thirty years ago when I was an undergraduate at St. Mary's College, St. Andrews University in Scotland, Professors Ernest Best, Matthew Black and Robin McL. Wilson ran the NT department. My father took me to visit before I was accepted and anxiously inquired of Principal Black whether it was likely that I might marry a presbyterian. "Oh, there are many different groups represented here" was the reply.

Prof. Wilson once told us at St. Mary's a wonderful story about material being prepared for a two volume work on NT Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha he translated into English. Some of the material was given to a typist who happened to be a friend of Prof. Nisbet's daughter. Prof. Nisbet recounted that his daughter came to him wondering (on behalf of her friend) about Prof. Wilson's interest in ghosties. "Oh, its not ghosties Prof. Wilson is interested in," he replied, "Its Gnostics."

Yesterday was given over to a celebration of Prof. Wilson's 90th birthday as reported by Jim Davila in Paleojudaica (from whom I have appropriated this picture). It was through Prof. Wilson that I became interested in Gnosticism and it was thanks to him that I ended up studying with George Macrae at Harvard.

We last met in 2000 at the SNTS meeting in Durham (see below). Perhaps my favorite memory of him was from an academic meeting in Rome in 1974. He kindly took me under his wing as it was my first visit to "the eternal city." One afternoon, his hearing aid failed as we set out on a guided tour of the catacombs. He simply turned it off and enjoyed the tour with the rest of the group.

Here's to you, Robin! Lang may your lum reek!

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