I am about 17 miles from Elgin (hard ‘g’ as in again), the hometown of the world famous biblical scholar F. F. Bruce.
I am tempted to write an epic poem about “Frederick the Bruce.”
If my grasp of Gaelic and Doric advances at a miraculous pace, and if the Muse of history visits me–I just might do it.
I might tell how Frederick the Bruce as a young loon, after gaining his footing in auld Aberdeen, ventured south among the treacherous English, and took degrees from Cambridge; thence to Vienna, and on Leeds where he relieved many an oor of wartime tedium commentatin on the Wondrous Acts of the Auld Apostles; how he met the Tübingen critics, the McBaur clan, on their own turf, wresting the Scriptures from the academics and returning it once more to the kirk; how he returned to his own land, crossing the Firth of Forth (an ay, the Firth of Fyvie) to pass his mantle to young Howard the Marshal, to whom young William the Baker, sailing the rough Atlantic, came seeking Aberdonian wisdom, and returned to the barbarous land of the North Americans, where he has gainit glory for himsel.
But while I wait for my muse to appear, I will have to trim my sails and speak plain prose.
F. F. Bruce was respected among historians, classicists, and biblical scholars of all stripes; but it is in particular the tribe of evangelicals, British and North American especially, who are most greatly indebted to him. He showed that faith and scholarship are not mutually exclusive. He showed that a believing Christian could undertake a historical interpretation of the Bible.
He began his academic career as a teacher of classical Greek, and received his first university appointment as a professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis after completing his commentary on the Greek text of Acts.
The Buckie library is just across the street from my back door. The librarians treated me with great kindness and extended a library membership to me, complete with a card and a permit to use their computers. I found on their shelves an autobiography of one of Morayshire’s favorite sons, from which I will be quoting or reporting in days to come.
The thing that impressed me most about professor Bruce was his broad and gracious spirit. His example of taking his graduate degree (an M.A. from Cambridge) in classics influenced me to follow in that path. I didn’t make it to Cambridge, but the training I received in classics at the University of Kansas has given me a good foundation for the study of the Bible, as well as introducing me to a world that is fascinating in its own right.