Remembering Alan . . . again
I was alerted recently to a short video of the late Alan Segal (a brilliant scholar and I’m humbled to say a friend to me), speaking on the Apostle Paul. Alan (a Jewish scholar, who held a post in Barnard College) wrote a widely-respected book on Paul, Paul the Convert: The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), in addition to numerous other publications on ancient Jewish texts and beliefs, ancient magic, mysticism and other matters. Sadly, in 2011 he died after a prolonged illness.
His final book, published posthumously was, Sinning in the Hebrew Bible: How the Worst Stories Speak for its Truth (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012). In an earlier posting here, I mentioned also that his landmark study of early Jewish reports of “two powers” heresies (which I consider of remaining importance for the study of Christian origins) has been re-published.
For those who didn’t know him personally, this short video will convey something of the man, his learning, his perceptiveness, ability to communicate, sensitivity, his readiness to engage sympathetically a religious outlook that he didn’t personally affirm, and the hint of his sense of humor as well. I paid my tribute shortly after his death on a blog-posting here, and so my purpose in these comments is simply to renew that tribute, remember my friend again, and point others to this little video of him, which you’ll find here.