Belfast Telegraph

Belfast author of Bible books published in 25 languages dies at age of 93

Respected: David Gooding
Respected: David Gooding

By Gillian Halliday

One of Northern Ireland's most respected Bible teachers and academics has died at the age of 93.

Professor Emeritus David Willoughby Gooding passed away on Friday.

He was due to celebrate his 94th birthday later this month.

A private funeral will be held this week, followed by a service of thanksgiving at Crescent Church, Belfast on November 7.

The author - whose books about the Bible have been translated into 25 languages - was born the youngest of six children in Ipswich, England, in 1925.

His mother died when he was aged just nine, and he spent his younger years caring for his father.

After the Second World War he studied Classics at Cambridge's Trinity College.

After a post-doctoral research fellowship at Durham University, Professor Gooding relocated to Northern Ireland to become a reader in Classics and lecturer at Queen's University in 1959.

He was elected as a member of the Royal Irish Academy in 1977 and was subsequently appointed professor of Old Testament Greek two years later.

Four years later he took up the post of professor of Greek.

On his retirement in 1986, he was bestowed the title of Professor Emeritus by Queen's.

Throughout his career, Mr Gooding worked with Northern Ireland mathematician, Oxford Professor John Lennox, an internationally renowned speaker on the interface of science, philosophy and religion, on a series of books and articles to be published in Russia and the Ukraine during the late 1980s.

In subsequent years Mr Gooding also worked with Christian charity organisation Myrtlefield Trust, which also published his works along with other authors including Professor Lennox.

Professor Gooding taught the Bible at an international level, lecturing to thousands of Christians on its relevance to philosophy and world religions.

Yesterday Cambridge University professor Robert Gordon - who knew Professor Gooding - described the late scholar as an "outstanding biblical expositor" who was able to "communicate the biblical message to lay audiences around the world".

He added: "He was especially interested in the literary (narrative) aspects of many biblical books, an appreciation of which he regarded as essential to proper understanding of them."

Dozens of touching tributes from followers of Professor Gooding's work have also since appeared on social media after his death was announced by Myrtlefield Trust.

An active church member, he attended meetings in Apsley Hall, a non-denominational Bible-based church in south Belfast.

Professor Gooding is survived by his nieces and nephews and wider family circle.

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