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05 October 2018

The Revd Paul Hunt writes:

FURTHER to your obituary of the Revd Professor John Rogerson (Gazette, 21 September), I had the good fortune to have had Professor Rogerson as a lecturer and tutor in Old Testament studies at Durham. In my study, I have a photograph of him with his departmental colleagues: Douglas Jones, C. K. Barrett, C. E. B. Cranfield, Richard Roberts, Ann Loades, Stephen Sykes, C. E. B. Cranfield, T. H. L. Parker, George Dragas, Tony Gelston, Gerald Bonner, Sheridan Gilley, and John McHugh. What a stellar department that was!

John inspired generations of students with an appreciation of the Old Testament as a sacred text in its own right, and not simply as a handmaid to the New. Many of us will remember with nostalgic delight his idiosyncratic pronunciation of “Deuteronomy” (with a shoulder shrug as its visual partner), and his occasional lecture in his scout uniform.

My special memory is of a lecture just after Mrs Thatcher’s interview in 1978 in which she said that people felt “somewhat swamped” by immigration. This was denounced by John, who then gave an unscheduled lecture about the correct understanding of blood and race in the Old Testament.

The Church today is in serious danger of becoming a one-Testament Church. Those of us who were privileged to have been taught by Professor Rogerson will honour his memory best by keeping the Old Testament as a vital element in our own theology and spiritual lives and in the lives of those to whom we minister.

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