I only recently learned that Leon Morris went to be with the Lord in July ’06. He was one of my favorite Bible commentators and authors, who had the ability to pack a lot into a few words, composed in an orderly, pleasant style. That may owe to his background as a science teacher, self-taught Bible scholar and pastor turned academic — a powerful combination. He was also accessible and among my treasures I still have a personal letter he wrote in response to some questions I sent him. I was pleased to find this appropriately thorough, yet simple obituary to a man who wielded such a huge influence on modern Evangelicalism. Here is the kernel:
Leon Lamb Morris was perhaps Australia’s most prolific biblical and theological author. He wrote over fifty books of theology and biblical commentary which have sold nearly two million copies worldwide and been translated into many languages. This is an astonishing output for an Australian writing technical or academic books. He was well-known throughout the Christian world as a careful, conservative biblical scholar. Extraordinarily, Morris received no formal theological education, apart from two years of supervision for his doctorate in Cambridge. He was self-taught theologian who brought his rigorous and disciplined training in scientific enquiry to his study of the Bible and theology.
I always enjoy learning about the personal lives of technical authors or scholars who somehow resonate or “speak to me” through what I expect to be dry or analytical works. Sometimes, I even find points of similarity (usually some annoying trait — rarely anything of their intellect or learning) Leon Morris is one of those writers and I was so pleased to find this anecdote which could have been written about Denise and I, as I try to make the most of my Bible study time:
Mildred, whom he married in 1941, would drive the bumpy, dusty roads of South Australia while Leon studied New Testament Greek in the passenger seat.
Farewell, Leon… I will see you in the resurrection.