Best, Ernest 1917-2004
BEST, Ernest 1917-2004
OBITUARY NOTICE— See index for CA sketch: Born May 23, 1917, in Belfast, Northern Ireland; died October 1, 2004, in St. Andrews, Scotland. Minister, educator, and author. Best was a leading scholar of the New Testament and was especially well known for his writings about the Gospel of Mark and Ephesians. Educated at Queen's University, Belfast, where he received a B.A. in mathematics in 1938, and an M.A. in 1939, he followed these studies with a shift to theology, earning a B.D. in 1942 and Ph.D. in 1948; Best was ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1949. He then worked as an assistant minister in Bangor, Ireland, in the late 1940s, and as a minister in Caledon and Minterburn, Ireland, during the 1950s and early 1960s. Best began his academic career at the University of St. Andrews in 1963, where he was a lecturer until 1971 and a senior lecturer in biblical literature and theology from 1971 to 1974. Next, he accepted a post as professor of divinity and biblical criticism at the University of Glasgow, where he also served as chair. He remained at Glasgow until his 1982 retirement as professor emeritus. As a biblical scholar, Best often proved himself a unique interpreter of the New Testament, taking the position that the Bible should be repeatedly readdressed by each new generation as it seeks to apply its wisdom to modern times. He therefore sometimes contradicted his contemporaries' interpretations of the Gospels and other books; for example, he believed, unlike his colleagues, that in Mark the main theme is not the conflict between Jesus and Satan, but rather that the central idea involves Jesus' efforts to win over the souls of humanity. Best wrote many books about the New Testament and other religious subjects, including The Temptation and the Passion: The Markan Soteriology (1965; second edition, 1990), 1 and 2 Thessalonians (1972), Mark: The Gospel as Story (1984), and Interpreting Christ (1993). In 1997, he received an honorary D.D. from Glasgow University.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), October 13, 2004, p. 16.
Scotsman, October 19, 2004.
Times (London, England), November 17, 2004, p. 67.
Scotsman, http://news.scotsman.com/ (October 19, 2004).