- Bruce Manning Metzger (February 9, 1914- February 13, 2007)
- Meredith George Kline (December 15, 1922 – April 14, 2007)
- Robert Eugene Webber (November 27, 1933-April 27, 2007)
- Brevard Springs Childs (September 2, 1923-June 23, 2007)
- Harold O. J. Brown (July 6, 1933-July 8, 2007)
- Charles Francis Digby Moule (December 3, 1908-September 30, 2007)
The scholarly world at large has also registered some notable loses, among them:
- Jean-Pierre Vernant (January 4, 1914-January 9, 2007)
- Manfred Kerkhoff (March 30, 1937-February 20, 2007)
- Richard McKay Rorty (October 4, 1931-June 8, 2007)
Kerkhoff studied classical philology at Tübingen under Wolfgang Schadewaldt, whom he called “the Nestor of German classical philology.” At Schadewaldt’s suggestion he went on to Münich to continue his studies, where he “somewhat unexpectedly” changed his Hauptfach to philosophy. It is rumored (for the details of his biography are the stuff of legend) that at some point he had been a Roman Catholic seminarian; he is also said to have mentioned, shortly after the last Papal election, that he once was a student of Pope Benedict XVI (but it is unclear at what point this could have happened). He possessed a rare gift for languages, and gained mastery in 14 ancient and modern ones in all; by the end of his life, he lamented that his proficiency in Sanskrit had sunk to its lowest ebb due to a lack of opportunity to regularly make use of the language. A wonderfully methodical pedagogue, he prepared with the utmost care outlines and anthologies of philosophical texts for use in his classes in the history of philosophy, poring over each selection to fine tune even the least details of each translation. In class, he would masterfully trace the notion of καιρός (kairos) through each of these choice texts, for this was the organizing center of his philosophical reflection (or “his hobby,” as he often put it). Kerkhoff maintained a wide range of academic friendships around the world, and it seemed as though nearly every book in his immense library had an inscribed dedication from the author. Most notably, he was a friend of Jacques Derrida for many years, and received an early invitation from him to lecture at the Collège international de philosophie, which he did in 1986.
Like a true disciple, Kerkhoff had wanted to follow Schadewaldt’s example by offering as his academic swan song a graduate course on Pindar’s Odes. This pleasure, to which he was abundantly entitled, was denied him by his lessers in the Bureaucracy. Perhaps they feared that the blazing light of his impeccable scholarship would expose their own pathetic incompetence.
To have studied under him was an incomparable privilege, and I only regret that I’ll never have the chance to do so again. Requiesce in pace, magister illustrissime!