Arthur Vööbus, a mangificent mind

I have been trying, with little luck, to come into contact with some of the books by Arthur Voobus, especially his magnificent and very useful history of Syriac Asceticism in early Christianity.  But I cannot get the money to buy the $89 version on Amazon.  Until another day.   But still, I have decided to post a biography of Arthur Voobus for those who are not aware of this brilliant being that has opened up so much for us through tireless scholarship.   This article is by Erwin Buck.

Of course Voobus is of interest only to those who study Syriac and early Christianity.  Still, his untiring research has given us much of what we know about early Christianity in that part of the world.  It is because of his discovery of the Syriac texts that we have a large portion of Saint Simeon’s life.

Please visit the link on the bottom to read the bio of this interesting scholar.

This is a photograph of Arthur Voobus.



~ by alexmalina on February 12, 2009.

8 Responses to “Arthur Vööbus, a mangificent mind”

  1. Dear Cobwebs:
    I rejoice at seeing the photo of my former professor, Dr. Voobus. I was a student at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago in 1969-70, and had a class with this precious saintly Scholar. It was a Lukan study, and we used his text, which I have buried away somewhere. I knew nothing of Syrian studies and still know only a tad, but I think that he had an influence on my interest in early Church and Orthodoxy. He would also share with us and the faculty his experiences with the ravages of Communism and I recall how he told us of his committment to fulfill the work of his martyred co-scholars at the seminary in Estonia. He took time to invite us into his home and share special insights. So, I have an interest in his name and legacy.

  2. Dear Mr. Hoessel,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with Dr. Voobus, a mind and spirit that is as rare as it is talanted. I wish to someday read his amazing study on Syrian Asceticism.

    Warm Regards,

  3. I took some NT courses at the Lutheran School of Theology from 1968 on into the early 1970’s. Wow, what a brilliant mind he had. IN 1966 Fortress Press published The Gospels in Study and Preaching, Trinity Sunday tgo the Ninth Sunday after Trinity. Arthur Voobus did the exegetical articles. In one of his asides, he said the Samaritans desecrated the Jerusalem temple in 46AD. He refused to say what the temple authorities did in retaliation. For a time he worked worked on the Bible Society Greek Testament, which became the basis for many missionary translations. As I recall from a comment made in class, he dropped out of the process because he did not feel the work had sufficiently scholarly rigor. Truly a saint. When he spoke of the communists killing professors in Estonia, it was with tears in his eye and a tremor in his voice. He was a great professor.

  4. I am most interested in this discussion of Arthur Voobus. I have just completed a conversation with an SBL member who acquainted me with him. She had taken courses with him. I could say much more for those interested.

    My interest now is to try to get together something on Voobus for the Society of Biblical Literature’s International Meeting in Tartu, Estonia. We are being hosted by the university. We want to pull together information on Estonia scholarship across the humanities.

    Anyone that has additional information would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you very much

  5. I was a student at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago 1969-1973 and took 12 courses from Dr. Voobus. He was absolutely profound! A humorous story: he lived in Oak Park and commuted to the seminary by train. When informed by the Divinity School at the University of Chicago that he had some overdue library books, he asked a colleague on the faculty to drive out to his home and help him return the not small cache of books. Reportedly the books filled up a station wagon!

    • Rev. Ford,

      I am following up on Kent’s post above about the meeting in Tartu. We are organizing a session on him and are looking for those who would be able to attend the meeting and share about Voobus, both about his scholarly contributions and his extraordinary life. Please contact me; I would like to share more.

  6. I was a student at LSTC in the early 1970’s and was scared to take courses from him!

  7. I was also a student of Dr. Voobus and remember many interesting stories about him. Sometimes I would drive him to his home in Oak Park. I also remember how he could take us in so deep that we were terrified he would ask us a question. In the end, as he came back up and demonstrated the relationship between his analysis and, say, the Eucharist, we were amazed at his brilliance.

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