IVP - Addenda & Errata - David F. Wright (1937-2008)

February 26, 2008

David F. Wright (1937-2008)

We just learned that David F. Wright died last week. You can find some details in The Scotsman. Wright was for many years Senior Lecturer in Ecclesiastical History at New College, University of Edinburgh, and later Professor of Patristic and Reformation Christianity. He had a deep knowledge of patristic and Reformation history, and was also known for his writings on baptism and sexuality.

Wright was a friend of IVP. I had deep admiration for his work. He was one of the general editors of the New Dictionary of Theology produced by IVP-UK and published by IVP in North America. And he was also one of the general editors of the Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology, published by T & T Clark in the UK and IVP in North America. He contributed articles to our Dictionary of Paul and His Letters and to our Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments and our Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters I was always delighted to see his pieces come in. I knew they would be carefully written, amply supported, tightly argued and wonderfully informative gems of their genre.

Near the conclusion of editing one of these reference books, I always send out a brief questionnaire to contributors, asking them to update their information so we can note it accurately in the list of contributors. I typically ask, in a canned question, for their “highest earned degree.” Twice, at least, he responded that technically that would be an “M.A.” I knew, however, that he was worth two or three Ph.D.s. I later learned that he had been awarded a D.D. by the University of Edinburgh in 1997 for his high achievements. As the obituaries are saying, he was a humble man.

Lately he was working on editing a three-views book on baptism for IVP. In communication as recent as mid-January, he spoke of his lowered energy level from his prolonged struggle with prostate cancer and his awareness that he did not have long to live. Nevertheless, he was sending me material for the book and was working on its introduction. Of the latter, he said: “I have never yet in all my numerous writings on baptism set myself to consider on a four-square basis how one tackles the disagreements, and the fact of disagreement itself. It should make for a useful introduction, except that I know my mind is no longer working as sharply as it should.”

I can’t help being inspired by someone who is still working at his calling up to the end. And as an editor, I’d love to hear his perspective now on “how one tackles the disagreements, and the fact of the disagreement itself”! I wonder about that quite a bit myself.

Posted by Dan Reid at February 26, 2008 12:12 PM Bookmark and Share

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