I recently heard news that Professor Alan F. Segal, one of the giants in the field of Early Jewish and  Early Christian Studies, has passed away.  We have lost one of the greatest contributors to the advancement of these areas of study in recent times.

I first became aware of Professor Segal’s work while an MA student at Marquette University, when my advisor, Andrei Orlov, introduced me to his book, Two Powers in Heaven, the classic treatise on the early Rabbinic debates over the tradition that there were two celestial beings that were enthroned in heaven instead of YHWH alone. I subsequently read his book Paul the Convert, which, in my opinion, is one of the best books ever written on Paul, especially (for my interests) because it stresses the roots of Paul’s training in a Judaism that had mystical tendencies.

I thank Professor Segal for his foundational work on the Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism program unit at SBL, which I had the privilege of presenting at in 2009.  He, together with April DeConick, Jim Davila, and Christopher Morray-Jones, launched this unit back in 1996, and it has been the forum for many important discoveries and advances in the field ever since.  My own learning in this area has been immensely enhanced because of the diligent efforts of Professor Segal and his colleagues.

For more on the monumental work of Alan Segal, please see Jim Davila’s blog post here.  Prof. Davila has a number of links to other blog posts from many of Segal’s friends and colleagues.

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