This past week I received word from Paul Flesher that Derek Beattie died on Saturday, 31 August at his home in Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire. He was 73 years old. His son has said that plans for the funeral are still in process, but it is likely to be on 13th September.
One of my great regrets now will always be that I was unable to meet Derek in person. We corresponded quite a bit while I was working on Targum Ruth and Derek was incredibly gracious to me. The Book of Ruth and its rabbinic interpretation, especially the Targum, was a subject he knew more about than perhaps any person living. It began with his doctoral work (see Jewish Exegesis of the Book of Ruth) and continued right until the end. In the last few years I know that the had been hoping to complete his commentary on Targum Ruth.
Derek always kindly responded to my emails, offering corrections and suggestions on my work, and was even willing to make his critical edition of Targum Ruth available to me for publication. (In the end I simply provided a transcription of the base manuscript, but his work was often referenced in my volume.) I am so grateful to have corresponded with him and only wish I had truly gotten to know him.
As a very meagre memento, below is the bibliography that I have of Derek’s work. I am certain it is incomplete and welcome additions from readers.
His faculty page at Queen’s University Belfast, where he was a longtime faculty member, has this bio.
Derek read Hebrew and Semitic (formerly Oriental) Languages at Trinity College, Dublin, in the heyday of Jacob Weingreen’s Honor School, then migrated to St Andrews where he took his PhD under the supervision of William McKane. After a brief period as a lecturer in the University of Aberdeen he was appointed to a lectureship in Semitic Studies at Queen’s University Belfast in 1973 and was head of the Department of Semitic Studies from 1985 until its absorption in the school of Greek, Roman & Semitic [subsequently Byzantine] Studies.
“May light perpetual shine upon him.” ✠
Beattie, D R G. “Kethibh and Qere in Ruth IV 5.” Vetus Testamentum 21, no. 4 (1971): 490-494.
Beattie, D R G. “The Book of Ruth as Evidence for Israelite Legal Practice.” Vetus Testamentum 24, no. 3 (1974): 251-267.
Beattie, D R G, Jewish Exegesis of the Book of Ruth. Sheffield: Sheffield University, 1977.
Beattie, D R G. “Midrashic Gloss in Ruth 2:7.” Zeitschrift fur die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 89 (1977): 122-124.
Beattie, D R G. “Redemption in Ruth, and Related Matters: A Response to Jack M. Sasson.” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 5 (1978): 65-68.
Beattie, D R G. “Ruth III.” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 5, no. 39-48 (1978): 39-48.
Beattie, D R G. “The Targum of Ruth: A Sectarian Composition?”. Journal of Jewish Studies 36, no. 2 (1985): 222-229.
Beattie, D R G. “The Targum of Ruth – 18 Years On.” Hermathena (1985): 57-61.
Beattie, D R G. “Towards dating the Targum of Ruth,” in Word in Season. Sheffield, JSOT Press, 1986, 205-221.
Beattie, D R G. “Ancient Elements in the Targum to Ruth,” Pages 159-165 in Proceedings of the Ninth World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, August 4-12, 1985. Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1986.
Beattie, D R G. “Ruth 2:7 and midrash.” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, 9 9 (1987): 22-423.
Beattie, D R G. “The Yemenite Tradition of Targum Ruth.” Journal of Jewish Studies 41, no. 1 (1990): 49-55.
Beattie, D R G. “The Textual Tradition of Targum Ruth,” in Aramaic Bible (Sheffield, JSOT Pr), 1994, 340-348.
Beattie, D R G, The Targum of Ruth. Vol. 19. Collegeville: Liturgical, 1994.
Beattie, D R G. “Baldrick and Blackadder revive an ancient exegetical question relating to Ruth.” Belfast Byzantine Texts and Translations 9 (2000).
Beattie, D R G. “The Targum Ruth: A Preliminary Edition,” Pages 231-290 in Targum and Scripture: Studies in Aramaic Translations and Interpretations in Memory of Ernest G. Clarke. Edited by Paul VM Flesher. Leiden: Brill, 2002.
Beattie, D R G and P R Davies. “What Does Hebrew Mean?”. Journal of Semitic Studies 56, no. 1 (2011): 71-83.
Beattie, D R G and M J McNamara, The Aramaic Bible: Targums in their Historical Context. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic Press / JSOT Press, 1994.