Monday, 24 August 2015

Bumping into a scholar

As I was crossing the road in North Adelaide this afternoon, I saw  Doktor Erich Renner.   He is 90+. I said  "good afternoon Dr Renner". He was, as usual, totally distracted....not knowing for a moment who I was. But he waved and continued on his  way.

He is one of THE great Australian scholars of the Hebrew Scriptures. Even though I now guess he is 93+!   I was a bit shocked that he is still with us!

_....I met him on the first SA Council of Christians and the 80s  and particularly remember sitting in an excruciating meeting when a 20 + American Rabbi lectured this great Scholar about the book of Ezra.
I was thinking...Renner knows more about the exegesis of the Scriptures than you will ever know
Renner, ever the gentleman,(even today as he crossed the road he was wearing jacket and tie), sat quietly and waited to make his measured, polite and respectful response.

The young American rabbi, who had never for a moment considered  that a Lutheran may actually know more about the Scriptures than he did....despite a 50 year age difference, continued to lecture us unaware that he knew less than most of us sitting around the table. . I was just embarrassed!

It is of course difficult for Christians in Christian-Jewish dialogue to advocate for our scholarship and insight into the Hebrew Scriptures.  And particularly difficult if you happen to be of German background....despite the fact that the good doctor was born in or around Dimboola in the Wimmera.
The best Jewish scholars, of course, fully understand that Christians take the Hebrew Scriptures seriously...and indeed have been responsible for most of the serious scholarship of the last century.

Erich, today,  waved...and continued on his way

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