Professor Donald Wiseman (1918-2010)
The passing of Donald Wiseman on 2 February marked the end of an era for Tyndale House and the Tyndale Fellowship. Wiseman saw Tyndale’s strategic potential and gave much time and thought to its affairs, serving as chairman of first the Biblical Research Committee and then Tyndale House Council from 1957-1986.
He guided discussion with wisdom, patience and humour, ensuring sensible decisions were made. He saw that the priority for Tyndale House lay in biblical research, and supplying positive information and arguments to oppose widely taught liberal views about Scripture.
His vision was well expressed by former All Soul’s rector John Stott in 1992: ‘We shall never capture the church for the truth of the gospel unless and until we can re-establish biblical scholarship, and hold (and not lose) the best theological minds in every generation’.
Wiseman set up the Tyndale Biblical Archaeology Study Group in 1958, which brought together linguists and archaeologists to evaluate and apply new discoveries to biblical studies.
His experience and knowledge marked him as a major contributor to and editor of IVP’s New Bible Dictionary (1962, 1982, 1996) and Illustrated Bible Dictionary (1980). For many years he was editor of the Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries series and lent his skills to a variety of other Christian publications.
Wiseman was always ready to help a cause he thought would be fruitful in the service of his Saviour, preaching, teaching and holding informal groups for Bible study.
The number who faced the claims of the gospel through meeting him cannot be told; neither can those whose lives and careers he influenced or guided for good. As one of the latter, I give thanks for his life, service and fellowship.