Remembering a Friend: Dr. Harold Hoehner
I just received the news that Harold Hoehner, Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, unexpectedly passed away this morning. You can learn more about Dr. Hoehner's life and work from this brief DTS tribute.
Compared to Dr. Hoehner's colleagues and students, I barely knew him. I would see him once a year at the annual conferences of the Evangelical Theological Society and Society of Biblical Literature, where he was a frequent visitor to the Accordance booth. I say "visitor," but that's really not quite correct. Dr. Hoehner was an Accordance "evangelist," and something of a force to be reckoned with!
Dr. Hoehner would come by the booth so much because he was usually dragging someone else there—typically whom he had just met—telling them how much they needed Accordance. It was not unusual for him to grab me or one of the other people working the booth and urge us to give this newcomer a demo.
Giving a demo with Dr. Hoehner looking on was always a bit of a challenge. He would frequently interrupt to tell me to show this feature or do that kind of search. Those demos were never the most systematic I ever gave, but they were always fun because of Dr. Hoehner's sheer enthusiasm.
At last year's SBL, Dr. Hoehner explained that he had seen someone using a Mac the night before, and that he had approached that person to ask if he was an Accordance user. He ended up demonstrating Accordance to this person until the wee hours of the morning, and then brought him in the next day! You know you have an enthusiastic supporter when he's willing to lose sleep demonstrating your software.
Dr. Hoehner didn't just frequent the booth when he was evangelizing someone else. He would sometimes stop by to chat, to lobby for a feature he wanted, or (rarely!) to bring a bug to our attention. He had an infectious personality, was always friendly, always encouraging, and always smiling. He struck me as one of those people who had never met a stranger, and whom anyone could talk to.
I'm deeply saddened at the thought that Dr. Hoehner won't be with us at this year's SBL. The Accordance booth is likely to have a lot less energy, and a lot less laughter, without him. He'll be sorely missed.
Update: Some of my coworkers have told me that Dr. Hoehner's influence at OakTree goes back even before Accordance was developed. Back in the late 1980s, we developed our first Mac Bible program called The Perfect Word. Even then, Dr. Hoehner was a vocal Mac enthusiast, and when we demoed the Perfect Word at Dallas Seminary, it was Dr. Hoehner who first encouraged us to exhibit at ETS and SBL. In the beginning, and at every step along the way, Dr. Hoehner has been a source of help and encouragement in our efforts to develop Bible software for the Mac.