New College, University of Edinburgh

RIP Hans Barstad

(Matthew Novenson, CSCO director) My friend and colleague Hans Barstad has died, aged 73. A great Norwegian scholar of the classical prophets, in 2006 he left his chair in Oslo to take up the chair of Hebrew and Old Testament Studies at Edinburgh, where he remained Professor Emeritus since his retirement. He was the author of The Religious Polemics of Amos (1984), A Way in the Wilderness (1989), The Myth of the Empty Land (1996), The Babylonian Captivity of the Book of Isaiah (1997), History and the Hebrew Bible (2008), and A Brief Guide to the Hebrew Bible (2010), among many other contributions. Together with Graeme Auld, Timothy Lim, David Reimer, and Anja Klein, Hans helped to establish Edinburgh as an outstanding centre for Hebrew Bible research. He was also a kind friend and colleague to those of us in other fields. When I was a new lecturer in Edinburgh, Hans helped me learn my way around the university and its labyrinthine bureaucracy. Himself a fellow (and onetime Secretary General) of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Hans helped oversee Edinburgh’s Northern Scholars Lectureship, a fund for collaboration between Scottish and Scandinavian researchers. He once went to a great deal of trouble to help me find the right pots of university money to bring Troels Engberg-Pedersen to Edinburgh to give a series of lectures. When he retired, Hans gave me his New College scarf, woven with the traditional purple, silver, and black colours of the divinity faculty. There will be proper obituaries forthcoming from Hans’s Hebraist peers in SBL, SOTS, and elsewhere. Meanwhile, those of who knew him as a colleague remember him very fondly.

  • CSCO Team,
  • 17th September 2020


  • stephen waddell, 30th August 2023 at 12:07 am | Reply

    I graduated in 2012 and Hans was one of my favourite lecturers. For a long time after graduating, every time I read the book of isaiah I could hear it in his norweigian accent. Hans was one of the reasons that I loved my time at new college. I am sad to hear he’s no longer here with us.

Add comment