A Note on the Passing of Old Testament Scholar John H. Hayes

John H. Hayes
As a graduate student at Columbia Theological Seminary in the mid 1970’s, I had the honor of being involved with two seminaries that shared faculties on a regular basis.  The other school was Candler School of Theology at Emory University and this is where I first got to know John Hayes.   
Thus, when John Hayes and Maxwell Miller came out with a new  history of ancient Israel and Judah , I bought a copy and made sure I was there when they introduced it at the 1986 SBL meeting in Atlanta, Ga.

(While both Hayes and  Miller answered questions on their new book, I noticed there was a professor from the University of Sheffield challenging them on their information; Philip R. Davies.  I remember Hayes was trying to answer one of Davies criticisms of their book with “Well, maybe it happen like this . . . “, to which Davies quipped, “Well, maybe it didn't.  So what have you really said?  Nothing!”  That really made an impression on me.)

What stood out to me as I read Professor Hayes' obituary was how much like a Secular Humanist he had become after his retirement by placing his care and faith in the simple things all around him on his farm; things we often take every day for granted as expressed in his necrology, “Nowhere was John's gentle nature more apparent than in his treatment of animals. Over the years, he amassed an eclectic assortment of dogs, cats, and cows, each of whom he treated with kindness and respect.”

But what struck me even more was how he spent his final hours and how this could serve as an example for atheists who often can learn much from such honest people as the article stated:  “John's passing on July 11, 2013, after a peaceful last night spent with his loving family and friends by his side paralleled the closing lines of his final essay:

"And when on our day the sun has set, let us pray that the darkness be not long delayed, that short will be that evening journey into night. And may that night kiss us softly on the cheek, and embrace us tenderly in its keep."

Amen John, well said . . .  Rest in Peace.