Providential Accidents: An Autobiography

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Rowman & Littlefield, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 258 pages
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Geza Vermes is known world-wide as an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls and for his pioneering work, Jesus the Jew. But in addition to that he is the living embodiment of Jewish-Christian relations in the context of an honest quest for the truth. Few scholars can have had such a colorful and eventful life, the course of which he describes here. Born into a Hungarian Jewish family which later converted to Christianity, he received a Catholic education and was later ordained priest after the turmoil of the War. The quest for membership in a religious order led him to the Sion Fathers, in Louvain and then in Paris, where among other things he was introduced to biblical studies and became fascinated with the newly discovered Dead Sea Scrolls. Subsequent emotional turmoil from conflicting pressures made him ill, but a series of Providential Accidents" which gave this book its title brought him to England, marriage and a new fulfilled life, first in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and then in Oxford, and to a public reassertian,of his Jewishness. As well as telling a fascinating personal story, this book also provides a vivid insider's account of developments in Scrolls research and of the lengthy battle with procrastinating editors over the "academic scandal of the century." These memoirs shed much light on the deep personal friendships and antagonisms and the complex, non-scholarly factors which accompany even committed study of the Bible, Qumran, and the Gospels.
 

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Contents

10 June 1993
ix
Roots
3
Childhood Memories 19261937
10
Unread Signs of Doom 19381942
18
From Boredom to Nightmare 19421944
27
From Darkness to Light 19451946
40
The Fathers of NotreDame de Sion Prelude 19461948
53
Discovery of the Bible 19481950
62
Finding my Feet in Newcastle 19571958
123
Laying the Foundations 19581965
134
The Wonderland of Oxford
155
The Journal and the New English Schurer
171
The Battle over the Scrolls A Personal Account
188
Jesus the Jew and his Religion
210
Harvest Time
225
Late Afternoon Sunshine 1993
231

Meeting the Dead Sea Scrolls 19501952
71
Jerusalem and Qumran SeptemberDecember 1952
86
Paris and the Cahiers 19531955
98
The Turmoil of Transition 19551957
111
Notes
233
Index
249
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About the author (1998)

Geza Vermes is a fellow of the British Academy and professor emeritus of Jewish Studies at the University of Oxford.

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