Southeastern remembers lauded Old Testament scholar

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Well-known professor of Old Testament, John Sailhamer, died on Monday, January 9, after a long bout with Parkinson’s disease. During his career, Sailhamer served a number of institutions, including Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS), where he worked from 1999 -2006. Most recently, Sailhamer taught at Gateway Baptist Theological Seminary until he retired in 2010. 

Sailhamer’s work at SEBTS was marked by service to students, as he spent much of his time advising Master of Theology and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) students through the thesis and dissertation process. During this time he also served as the president of the Evangelical Theological Society in 2000 and wrote his last major publication “The Meaning of the Pentateuch.”

The SEBTS community remembers Sailhamer for his contributions to Old Testament scholarship and the greatness of his character.

“John Sailhamer was the quintessential Christian scholar. His thoughtful writings will continue to bless the Church for years to come,” said SEBTS President Danny Akin. “His ability in the classroom is truly legendary. I do not choose my words lightly. He was that good and how we will miss him.” 

“John Sailhamer was not only a great man but a profoundly good man. He was great in that he was the consummate research scholar and a master classroom instructor who received standing ovations at the end of his courses,” said Provost Bruce Ashford. “But more significantly he was a good man, a humble and loving servant of the Lord who was loved by his peers and students.”

Tracy McKenzie, associate professor of biblical studies, worked closely with Sailhamer as a teaching assistant and Ph.D. student at SEBTS. In a tribute to Sailhamer, McKenzie wrote, “Much could be said of Sailhamer’s career in teaching and publishing…The numbers of his students who now serve in the academy—both inside and outside of evangelicalism—not to mention the pulpit, attest to his profound influence in the field through teaching and supervising Ph.D. students.”

The Library at Southeastern is home to Sailhamer’s personal library, a collection of rare volumes documenting the history of the Old Testament interpretation in post-Reformation Europe. Through this special collection, students have and will continue to benefit from Sailhamer’s work for years to come.

The SEBTS community joins with the wider Christian community to remember this great man who contributed his life’s work to enhancing the world of Old Testament scholarship. 

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