Biblical scholar. Born 17 February 1913, his London BD in 1936 was followed by a D. Phil. at Marburg for a thesis on authority in the works of John Wesley. He was ordained in 1939 and from 1949 to 1956 taught Old Testament Language and Literature at Didsbury College, Bristol. From 1956 to 2008 he was on the staff of McGill University, Montreal, serving as Dean of the Faculty of Divinity 1957-1963, Dean of Graduate Studies and Research 1963-1969 and Vice-Principal 1969-1974. As McGill’s official historian from 1975, he was responsible for a number of publications (including a two-volume History of McGill, 1980, 1984), and was one of the founding members of the James McGill Society.
On moving to Canada he became a member of Wesley United Church, Notre Dame de Grace, Montreal, in the United Church of Canada, preaching regularly and serving three times as its interim minister. He was President of the Association of Theological Schools in America and Canada 1962-1964 and of the Fraser-Hickson Library 1984-1989. He received honorary degrees from several universities, including an honorary LL.D from McGill in 1990, and became Professor Emeritus in 2004. In addition to his extensive publications in biblical and theological studies, he wrote poetry, some of which was collected in Autumn Harvest (2002). He died in Montreal on 25 July 2013.
'As an administrator he was shrewd and competent, with a reputation for being able to make difficult decisions. He had the ability to master complex details of a situation and arrive at a judicious and wise decision. As a researcher, he was intelligent, incisive and thorough. His critical faculty in analysing people and situations never deserted him. As a lecturer he was a gifted communicator… He was loyal, sympathetic and sociable. His cheerful optimism and lack of cynicism could be infectious.’
Ronald Frost, in Methodist Recorder, 30 August 2013