Six years ago this week my Doctor Father, Earle Ellis, died. When he came to his final teaching post in the mid-1980s, I was his first graduate assistant and one of only five students who finished under him in about 25 years of teaching. Dr. Aaron Son, one of his other students, informs us through Facebook that Southwestern Seminary has established a lectureship in Ellis’ honor. I’m pleased to learn of this today. It is an honor well deserved. He was a great scholar, teacher and mentor.
The inaugural lecture will be given by Professor Craig Evans who recently moved to Texas after decades of teaching in Canada, most recently at Acadia Divinity School in Nova Scotia. Dr. Evans is a good choice for an inaugural lecture because Ellis thought highly of him, and Evans in many ways continues along the academic trajectory begun by Ellis and many of his colleagues. My memory may be faulty, but I seem to recall meeting Evans through Dr. Ellis in the late 1980s.
Dr. Son wrote Ellis’ obituary on the website of the Society of Biblical Literature. The link is here. It contains a list of his most important publications and some poignant details about his life. Ellis was a rigorous scholar who demanded and received a great deal from his students. He was a lifelong bachelor and committed Christian. He lived a life worthy of emulation.
Ellis leaves behind not only a group of grateful students but a number of important books he penned over his impressive career. He established a research library which is now part of the collection at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also established the Institute for Biblical Research, a collegial organization of scholars dedicated to the kind of reverent biblical scholarship which was the hallmark of Ellis’ life. Information about IBR can be found here. I’m pleased to have been elected to the board of IBR last year.
Thanks to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for highlighting and continuing his legacy. I hope one day to be able to attend and be part of the honor.
Rest in peace, Dr. Ellis.