I have just received word that Professor Sean Freyne passed away peacefully yesterday (05 August) in his home in Rathmines (Dublin). Sean will be sorely missed, both as a cordial colleague in the field of early Christianity and a significant contributor to it.
He was Emeritus Professor of Theology in Trinity College (Dublin), where he had served with distinction in the School of Religions and Theology. He was also a trustee of the Chester Beatty Library (Dublin).
He is particularly noted for his numerous publications on questions about ancient Galilee in the time of Jesus: e.g., Galilee From Alexander the Great to Hadrian 323 B.C.E. To 135 C.E.: A Study of Second Temple Judaism (Wilmington, DE: Michael Glazier, 1980); Galilee, Jesus and the Gospels: Literary Approaches and Historical Investigations (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988); Galilee and Gospel: Collected Essays, WUNT, no. 125 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000); Jesus, a Jewish Galilean (London: T&T Clark, 2004).
I got to know Sean personally when he came to Edinburgh to deliver a well-received set of Gunning Lectures some years ago. He remained a valued friend and colleague. I shall miss his soft and lovely Irish accent, the wink in his eye, and his wise judgments on things to do with Galilee.