Thursday, August 06, 2015

Professor Robert Burt Passes Away at Age 76

I am sad to report that Yale Law Professor Robert "Bo" Burt has passed away at age 76. I never met Bo personally, but we did get the chance to correspond about what turned out to be his final book, In the Whirlwind: God and Humanity in Conflict. We exchanged several emails about our competing interpretations of the Book of Job, and even though I was a mere law clerk at the time (and not a former student of his either), he responded to my perspective with a seriousness and respect that I was honored to receive. Later, when I published my review of the book in the Loyola University (Chicago) Law Journal, he was effusive with his praise while responding thoughtfully to our areas of (mild) disagreement.

When I was a law review editor, my single most important criteria for evaluating submissions was simple: does it cause me to think interesting thoughts? Burt's book triggered a welter of interesting thoughts, some of which I hopefully was able to transcribe into my review. But whether I was successful or not, I was grateful and humbled to have been treated as a colleague and a fellow in the process. That is something I will never forget, and if God-willing I ever achieve anything close to his eminence in academia, a model I hope to emulate.

May his memory be a blessing.

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