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By Diogenes ( articles ) | May 16, 2006

Jaroslav Pelikan, Professor Emeritus of Yale University, died last Saturday at the age of 82. "In the estimation of many," says the First Things site, he was "the twentieth century’s most distinguished historian of Christianity."

Pelikan's vast learning made him an intimidating figure to many. A story -- whose genuineness I can't vouch for -- has it that from time to time Pelikan would find an over-excited grad student in his office, eager to expound an original theological discovery and win the Master's acclaim. Having seated the student on the other side of his desk, the Professor would say, "I am very interested to hear your new theological idea, Mr. So-and-so, but, before you explain it, let me tell you three things about it: One. It was already propounded by a fifth-century Syrian monk. Two. He expressed himself better than you will. Three. He was wrong."

I hope it's true.

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