Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Passing of Charles Cranfield (1915-2015)

A number of bloggers, especially those of us who studied at Durham, are noting the passing of C. E. B. Cranfield. He was around 80 years old when I was in Durham and was unfortunately one of those individuals who had such extreme curvature of the spine that he walked most uncomfortably hunched at what approached a 90 degree angle.

Nijay Gupta's interview with him gives a great sense of his humility and kind spirit, always welcome to visits from students at the university, although I never had any extensive contact with him myself. There were fun stories (in retrospect) about a long-standing rivalry between him and Kingsley Barrett for students.

Cranfield had the unfortunate honor of producing the last major commentary on Romans before the advent of the new perspective on Paul. Despite what you may have heard, there is no going back, not completely. Even those who oppose the new perspective have changed. Cranfield's commentary was destined to be a final monument to the old perspective, produced as it was in the late 70s.

None of that negates the greatness of this man, truly a man after God's own heart. He may not approach the throne with boldness, but the Lord will welcome him with delight.


JD said...

Charles (as he was always known to me) was a great friend of my father (The Rev David Lewis) from the time they met at University until my Dad's passing in 1995.
You mention his kindness.
If I may take this space to relate a short illustration of Charles' (and his wife Ruth's kind nature).
My wife and I and our new born son were living in sotuh London when a crisis meant we had to move North and quickly. With no money and little hope, my eldest sister suggested we contact Charles.
He told us to visit, helped us to find a place to live and told me: "Your father & I promised to look out for one another's families, whichever of us departed first."
That was in 1997, and Charles was frail but hearty.
I'll never forget him meeting our eight-week-old son and saying: "David's grandson: well, well, well."
Fond memories.
Thank you for your blog.
Very few newspapers here seem to be remotely interested in the passing of a truly great man.

Ken Schenck said...

Thank you for sharing!

I believe I only met him once. He did come to a couple Department of Theology functions while I was there as well. I remember once just happening to see him walking across the road under the viaduct and felt so sad that someone would have to walk so terribly hunched over.

Richard Zuelch said...

Does anyone have definite information regarding the exact date of his death and where he was when he died? I haven't seen any news account yet that has said anything definite.

Also, does anyone know where and when he was born?