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Emeritus Professor Keith Elliott

Colleagues will be sorry to learn of the death, on 30 May 2024, of Emeritus Professor Keith Elliott, formerly of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies.

With over forty years’ service to the University, Keith Elliott not only proved to be a loyal and committed member of staff, but someone who, after arriving in Leeds at the age of 24, went on to become a major international authority in the field of New Testament Studies. Keith joined the (then) Department of Theology in 1967, after completing his DPhil thesis at St Peter’s College, Oxford, on the Greek Text of the Pastoral Epistles.   Appointed initially as a temporary Assistant Lecturer in New Testament studies, he gained a permanent lectureship in 1969, and remained at Leeds for the rest of his career.   In recognition of his varied contributions to the life of the Department and the University, he became a Senior Lecturer in 1989, whilst his research eminence was acknowledged with the award of a Readership in New Testament Textual Criticism in 1993, and a Personal Chair in the same field in 1997.

Combining his research interests in the New Testament and non-canonical early Christian literature, Keith’s publications, which can be counted in the hundreds, include a large number of books, most notably A Survey of Manuscripts and Editions of the Greek New Testament (1987);  Essays and Studies in New Testament Criticism (1992);  The Apocryphal New Testament (1994);  The Apocryphal Jesus (1996); and Art and the Christian Apocrypha (2001).   Alongside these publications, however, Keith was always eager to take up editorial and advisory roles, as well as collaborating with other scholars on international Biblical projects.   He was editor of the Novum Testamentum monograph series and a member of that journal’s editorial board;  the Secretary of the British Committee of the International Greek New Testament Project;  Chair of the Text Critical Seminar of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas;  Chair of the SBL Christian Apocrypha section;  a member of the Advisory Board of Filologia Neotestamentaria (Cordova);  a member of the international Marc Multilingue Project (CNRS, Aix-en-Provence);  as well as a member of the Peer Review College and a grant reviewer for the AHRC.   With his exceptional international profile, he was the recipient of many invitations to give papers across the globe, and consistently in demand as an examiner for PhD theses at some of the most prestigious universities throughout the world.

Alongside his impressive research record Keith has was, throughout his career, a committed servant of the University in many other ways.   He served as a member of the University’s Court (2004-07), was Warden of Charles Morris Hall for 12 years (1971-1983), Chairman of Devonshire Hall Council (2011-17), and was, for many years, a non-resident tutor of Devonshire Hall.   Within the Department, he was an admired and popular teacher;  he acted for several years as the Director of Learning and Teaching;  and he also initiated, and until 2007 oversaw, a thriving and popular student exchange programme with the Faculty of Theology at the Charles University, Prague.

A cultured and charming person with a wry sense of humour, Keith was a gracious and popular colleague.   His presence in the Department was much missed when he retired at the end of 2007, at which time the title and status of Emeritus Professor was conferred upon him.