Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Gratuitous Canadian Pride

Today is July 1st, Canada Day, and so this seems a good time for a digression on Bernard Lonergan and Ben Meyer's Canadian connections. They are actually pretty straight-forward. For his part, Lonergan was born in Buckingham, Quebec, and began his early studies in Canada. Later he would teach at Regis College, a Jesuit college affiliated with the University of Toronto and which today houses the Lonergan archives. He ended his life at a Jesuit infirmary just east of Toronto and is buried in a Jesuit cemetery a bit west of Toronto.

Although born in Chicago, Ben F. Meyer taught from 1969-1993 in the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University, located in Hamilton, Ontario, a city about an hour's drive from Toronto. At the time Lonergan was teaching at Regis, and so the appointment to McMaster allowed Dr. Meyer to work and live in close proximity to the man whom he would later call in print "the master." My understanding is that this proximity was for Meyer part of the appeal in coming to McMaster, whose RS department was at that time less than five years old. Meyer would for the next fifteen years teach alongside E.P. Sanders before the latter moved on to Oxford and was succeeded by Stephen Westerholm. He retired in 1993 and sadly passed two years later, still resident in the Greater Hamilton and Toronto Area.

I had the wonderful good fortune of doing graduate work in the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University, although I never had the privilege of meeting Dr. Meyer. I was still in high school when he passed away. I did however have the opportunity to study under several of his former colleagues in the department. As a New Testament scholar who also happens to be Canadian I think that there is yet significant work to be done in examining Meyer's contribution to New Testament studies specifically in Canada.

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