Saturday, July 6, 2013

Raymond Brown's Work Ethic

In her moving tribute to her friend and former colleague at Union Theological Seminary, Raymond Brown, Phyllis Trible writes this colorful description of Brown's legendary work ethic:

Much has also been made of Ray's work habits. They excluded breaks for lunch, extended around the clock, and so accounted for those ubiquitous catnaps that could rattle his company. When teased about nodding off, he would smile and resume the conversation as though sleep had not intervened. It may be accurate to say that he knew he was brilliant, but it would be inaccurate to say that he claimed the brilliance. He understood that it came from neither his genes nor his own relentless pursuits, not even when, as a young seminarian in Rome, he would sit in a tub of cold water to stay awake for study. No, he knew that brilliance came from God. His responsibility was to nurture and use it in discipleship. For that reason he worked diligently (Phyllis Trible, "Raymond E. Brown, 1928-1998: Scholar for the Church," Christian Century, 115/26, [1998]: 892-893, here 893; italics mine).

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