Monday, November 24, 2008

Doug Edwards

Doug Edwards, a Professor of Religion at the University of Puget Sound, died Saturday at the age of 58 after battling cancer for a long time. "Battling cancer" has become a familiar term, but in Doug's case, it is particularly apt. He simply would not give in to or back down from his illness, and even as he endured treatments, he remained of good cheer, completely dedicated to his teaching and scholarship, a family man, a contributor to the community (including as a singer with a bass voice in "Revels"), and an exemplar of the liberal arts.

Doug's scholarly specialty was archaeology; or I should say it is archaeology, for his contributions to the archaeology of the Middle East and especially of sites related to the Bible will endure. He was among the pioneers in the field who used global-positioning satellite imagery, combined with old-fashioned "digs," to produce extraordinary results. I shall never forget dropping by his office one day a couple years ago and having him show me just a bit of what was possible with the new technology. Doug combined the training and discipline of a scholar with the native curiosity of a child.

He was the kind of person who inspires people to try to be better persons. I'm thinking a lot about Doug and his family today, and about the all-too-brief but always warm conversations he and I had. Arguably, he and I shared a certain workaholism, so we often passed each other in corridors or campus parking lots, rushing to another task, but we usually stopped for a moment to chat. Peace be with Doug.

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