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It is with great sadness that we must inform readers of the death of Professor Geza Vermes FBA. His towering academic achievements will endure, above all in the two fields that he made his own, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Jewish Jesus. More recently he extended his range to cover the history of the early Church and the lives of major Jewish figures such as Herod the Great and Josephus.

Much of Geza's work during the last few years first appeared in articles for Standpoint, which we were proud to publish and which helped to spread his influence beyond the cloister and into the wider world. He was not afraid of controversy and possessed the virtues of a public intellectual in full measure, never condescending to his readers as he continued to give new impetus to the study of the Jewish world in late antiquity. Working as he did at the crossroads between Judaism and Christianity, between Biblical and Classical cultures, he was used to arousing opposition from various quarters, but was resolute in his pursuit of the truth.

In his own person, Geza bridged several different worlds, during a long life journey that took him from pre-war Budapest to present-day Oxford. Born Jewish, he lost his parents in the Holocaust, but was able to escape the Nazis thanks to protection from the Hungarian Church. After a period as a Catholic priest he reverted to Judaism and was among the first people to examine the Dead Sea Scrolls. His standard English translation has never been out of print. At Newcastle and Oxford he was a pioneer of Jewish studies and bequeaths a distinguished diaspora of students. A great scholar and a good man, Geza Vermes will be much missed by his pupils, colleagues, friends and family. We offer our condolences to Margaret, his wife, who has made a colossal contribution to his work over the years.  

The articles Geza wrote for Standpoint can be found here 

May 21st, 2013
4:05 PM
In an age where the immediate and vacuous are celebrated, the contributions of Professor Vermes remained steadfastly wedded to the qualitative notions of a different age, scholarship above salacious cliche and stupidity. Thank you Professor Vermes for your work, and thank you to Standpoint for providing a platform for your intellectual enterprise. You will be missed.

May 10th, 2013
9:05 AM
Very sorry to hear of his death. Have several of his books and his opinions were always interesting and built on huge knowledge. He was a great scholar.

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