This is a great and wondrous day. Rejoice, my gentle snowflakes! For our Infallible Hero, the great Moisés Silva, was born on September 4, 1945, and so we mark on this day his 72nd birthday—a number which is most appropriately Septuagintal.
As is well known, the Chief Burden of this blog during the past decade has been to spread the knowledge of the infallibility of Moisés Silva throughout the land. Therefore it occurred to me back in 2010 that his dies natalis should be one of the preeminent observances in this blog’s yearly calendar. As a result, I duly proclaimed September 4 as International Moisés Silva Day, to be celebrated thereon in perpetuity.
That solemn and universal proclamation in 2010 attracted some attention from a number of denizens of Litchfield, Michigan, nearly all of whom were, apparently, Our Infallible Hero’s fellow congregants. One teaches Sunday School with him. Another has, I assume, tea and biscuits with him. Yet another tells of his penchant for sampling the fair dining evidently to be had in the area. And still another is his grandniece! Every one of these individuals is blessed beyond measure, and I am delighted that I was able to open their eyes to this glorious truth. I regret to note, however, that the civil authorities in Litchfield have been slower in embracing International Moisés Silva Day, as witnesses the fact that nothing is said about it in the city’s Community Calendar. I realize, of course, that governments are often slow to embrace new holidays, yet one would certainly expect an exception in this case. But I digress.
I myself have never met our Infallible Hero, though a couple of years ago I found myself a mere 10 minutes down the road from Litchfield while visiting some friends in nearby Hillsdale, the closest geographic proximity to which I have yet attained (assuming he was home that day). However, I did once have a small Silvophany, 20 years ago this past spring.
At the time I was a college freshman and had only been introduced to the writings of our Infallible Hero a few months earlier. I did not yet know that he was infallible, but even then I could tell that he was one of the greats. Thanks to the wonders of the internet (also new to me that academic year), I quickly discovered that he had just moved from Westminster Theological Seminary to become the Mary French Rockefeller Professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. I promptly sent for an academic catalog, hoping, perhaps, to study with him one day. While browsing the seminary webpage, however, I stumbled upon a precious and irresistible piece of information: his institutional email address.
Being young and not yet knowing that I shouldn’t waste the time of my betters, I dashed off to him a note in Spanish telling him about the things I was learning, and thanking him for the books of his that I was then reading. Within a few hours, as I recall, I received a short reply from the eminent scholar, likewise in Spanish, saying that he appreciated my enthusiasm and expressing his best wishes for my studies. Sadly I cannot produce the text of the note, as it perished together with other important artifacts of my electronic past in one of those tragic server outages for which Hotmail became justly (in)famous, but 20 years later I remain grateful to him for taking the time to write a warm and encouraging reply to what was, I am quite sure, a piece of incoherent fan mail.
I regret that I never got the chance to study formally with Professor Silva, but I have sought to make him my teacher in other ways over the years: by reading his books and articles, by listening to his lectures and sermons, and above all, by striving to allow his exceptional scholarship to form my learning. To him I say, then, together with all those fortunate enough to have sat under his instruction in various places:
Ad multos annos, Magister!