Tuesday, February 14, 2012

R.T. France (1938 - 2012)

I learnt this morning that Dick France had died on 1oth Feb 2012. I studied Mark's Gospel with Dick in 1985-86 at LBC. They were great times with a small group of us gathered round the text under Dick's guidance. His books (especially Jesus and the Old Testament and Matthew: Evangelist and Teacher) have been a constant source of good judgement and good material for lectures, and his commentaries (on Matthew and Mark) exhibit his calm and thoughtful attention to reading the text. But it is Dick the teacher I will remember, the model he provided of Christian scholarship, and the encouragement he offered at several crucial moments.


  1. What a sad piece of news. Dick taught me gospels and NT introduction at LBC from 1986 until he left to go to Wycliffe Hall.
    e was a gentleman scholar, always prepared to listen and encourage but never afraid to correct and point to a better way of reading.
    And always he was concerned about how we lived the text we were studying.
    His commentaries on Matthew and Mark are my go-to texts on those gospels, models of godly erudition and his slim book on Divine Government is an over-looked gem.

  2. I was saddened to have this news. I remember Dick when I was in Cambridge from 1976-1978, and he was a constant encouragement to me both as a scholar and as a churchman.

  3. R.T France was my group tutor at LBC 1984-1988. He was a great encourager to us all and we had some great parties around at his place. Most of all he was a gracious and sensitive guide in our personal formation.

    Dr Chris Wigram (European Christian Mission)

  4. Rikk Watts, Regent College3/06/2012 12:04 am

    I remember picking Dick up from the airport in Boston when he'd come over to teach a two week Mark class in the Fall 1985 during a Gordon-Conwell "inter-semester" as they used to call them then. His class was the first Gospels class I'd taken. He was a marvellous teacher, and I particularly remember his lectures on the baptism, the parables (the notorious hardening theory etc.), the Messianic secret, and of course Mark 13. I think his comments on my first paper were something like: reading this was being in a whirlwind... never quite understood what that meant ☺ but he gave me my start in Mark. That paper, on the use of Isa 29:13 in Mark 7, led to my PhD "Mark's Use of Isaiah." He wrote a very kind reference to Cambridge and had me teaching Greek at Whycliffe when he was there. Thank you Dick for all you've done. You will be sorely missed. Bless you good brother.

  5. Rupert Barnes3/21/2012 1:28 pm

    Very sad news. I attended Dick France's lectures at Oxford in the early 90s and his work on the Kingdom of God was a staple for first term undergraduates studying Mark. Apart from his natural charm and clarity I remember him as being a thoroughly nice person