David Noel Freedman (1922-2008)

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Puritan Board Doctor
David Noel Freedman has died, of complications from a heart ailment, at the age of 85. He would have been 86 on May 12. As most know, he was the general editor (originally, co-general editor with the late William F. Albright) of the Anchor Bible commentary series. A couple of excerpts from the Los Angeles Times obituary, with my comments in italics:

"Freedman was named general editor of the Anchor Bible series when it launched in 1956 and held that position until his death. Close to 90 volumes were published during that period. The project is ongoing."

"The project is ongoing." No kidding. The series was launched in 1956, the first volume appeared in 1964, and they're not done yet! Second editions of some volumes have appeared before first volumes have, for some biblical books.

"Top Scripture scholars from the Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant traditions have contributed to the series. Freedman included young scholars as well as better established names and directed them to be unbiased, rather than promote their own religious point of view."

"Unbiased"? Uh-huh. The Anchor Bible commentaries are almost always very liberal. They are also wildly uneven, quality-wise. But, then, this is the LA Times talking.

I've long thought that the powers-that-be must have lost control of this series long ago. It shouldn't take 52 years - more than half a century - and counting, to produce a series of Bible commentaries, even when one strives to be meticulous in one's (liberal) scholarship.

Not wanting to appear too curmudgeonly, though: condolences to his survivors - four children, nine grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, two brothers, and a sister.
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Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I actually had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Freedman about a year ago. He was a former Professor at Pittsburgh Seminary and came in for a couple of lectures on Jonah.


Staff member
There are some magnificent volumes in the AB: Jeremiah by Lundbom, Leviticus by Milgrom (a Jew), Malachi by Hill, Fitzmyer on Romans, Koester on Hebrews, and most of the Minor Prophets volumes.
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