So Hugh Williamson (that HGM Williamson) begins the introduction to his book Jesus is Lord. This is not the usual fare for Prof. Williamson, but is instead, as the subtitle states, “A personal rediscovery.” I had the great good fortune to attend an archaeology conference at the Lanier Theological Library in Houston at the end of January (more on that another time) and Prof. Williamson was present and presenting. We spent a fair amount of time over dinner and in the shuttle bus discussing church life, preaching, and religious reflection. For those who do not know, Prof. Williamson was the Regius Professor of Hebrew (now emeritus) at the University of Oxford and he had been in that post for just over a year when I arrived there as a student. Needless to say, I was a bit in awe as a young and aspiring scholar, so at coffee hour, I would often just sit and listen as he and other scholars smoked their pipes (something no longer allowed) while discuss matters Hebraic and prosaic.
Over the years I have gotten to know Prof. Williamson in more informal contexts. He is a humorous, gracious, and faithful man who kindly now allows me to address him as “Hugh.” To get a sense of his nature and character, be sure to read this interview in the Church Times from 2015, when he received his OBE. There I learned of his love of “model yachting” and that, when asked, would choose to be locked in a church with St. Jerome. “From what I can gather about his character, I am sure we should have the most almighty row, but I should love to talk with him about translating and commenting on the Old Testament.”
As we were chatting about religious reflection and writing about matters other than grammatical, Prof. Williamson mentioned that he had once published this slim volume outlining his own journey to (re)affirm his faith that “Jesus is Lord.” The publisher was long out of print, he told me, so I decided to poke around the corners of the internet. I found a PDF copy (just £1 from Faith Mission!) and promptly read through it. It is a very readable and enjoyable exploration of what it means to say that “Jesus is lord” and, in particular, where we should place the emphasis in the sentence. Is it “Jesus is lord” or “Jesus is lord“? Not to spoil the book (for this comes very early on), Williamson comes to the conclusion in the first stage of his study that “the emphasis is on the proclamation that Jesus, not death, is lord.” It is a work worth reading, so with Prof. Williamson’s approval I am making the PDF available here. I hope you will read, be edified, and enjoy it as much as I have.