"From Tobit to Bartimaeus, From Qumran to Siloam:
The Social Role of Blind People and Attitudes toward the Blind in New Testament Times"
Ph.D. Dissertation: Yale University, 1997
Felix N. W. Just, S.J.


To my mother and father

Prof. Kurt and Sigrid Just


The writing of a dissertation can be a lonely and isolating experience, yet it is obviously not possible without the personal and practical support of numerous people. Thus my sincere gratitude goes to my parents, all my friends, and my companions and superiors in the Society of Jesus for their love, support, and patience over the last few years.

I wish to thank Profs. John Donahue, S.J., John Boyle, S.J., and John Endres, S.J., of the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, for inspiring and encouraging me to pursue a career in biblical studies, and to Revs. Paul Belcher, S.J., John Privett, S.J., Gerdenio Manuel, S.J., and Ms. Dorothy Lindsey, of the California Province of the Society of Jesus for enabling me to do so.

My thanks go out to Fr. James Cronin and all the people of St. Joseph Parish in New Haven, CT, for welcoming me so warmly to the East Coast, and to the Phelan family in Rhode Island for giving me frequent respite and much love. I am also grateful for the hospitality and support of the Sisters of Mercy in Madison, CT, and the Fairfield University Jesuit Community in Fairfield, CT. I deeply appreciate the welcome and encouragement I have received this past year from Fr. Michael Engh, S.J., and all the Jesuit Community at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA, and from the faculty, staff, and administration of LMU, especially Prof. Thomas Rausch, S.J., and my wonderful new colleagues in the Department of Theological Studies.

My research for this dissertation was made more efficient but also much more extensive through the use of several electronic resources. Thus I gladly express my gratitude to Dr. Theodore Brunner and the staff at the TLG Project in Irvine, CA, especially for performing a special search of the as-yet-unreleased texts for me, and to John Baima of Silver Mountain Software, for the "Bibloi" and "TLG Workplace" programs which I have used so frequently. On the other hand, most of my work still had to rely on the printed page. Thus I am thankful for having received much assistance from numerous librarians, especially the reference librarians and inter-library loan officers at the Yale, Fairfield, and Loyola Marymount University libraries, at the Yale Divinity School, and at the American Foundation for the Blind (New York).

Many people on the faculty and staff of the Yale Graduate School and the Yale Divinity School assisted and encouraged me in various ways during my course of studies. I am especially grateful to Profs. Wayne Meeks, Abraham Malherbe, Bentley Layton, Steven Fraade, Susan Garrett, and Heinrich von Staden for all that they have taught me. I was also greatly inspired pedagogically by Prof. Leander Keck, for whom I was a Teaching Assistant for two years, and I thank the students whom I was privileged to teach and from whom I also learned much.

My graduate studies would not have been the same without the social and academic challenges and diversions provided by all my student-colleagues in the Department of Religious Studies of the Yale Graduate School. I am particularly thankful to my friends Steven Boguslawski, O.P., Dean Béchard, S.J., Greg Snyder, and Allen Hilton. We not only studied, relaxed, and traveled well together, but they were even willing to read some portions of this dissertation and thus provided some very useful input. My enormous debt of gratitude can hardly be repaid to my good friend Daniel Cutrara, S.J., who not only proof-read multiple versions of all the chapters of this dissertation, but also provided many stylistic suggestions and substantive challenges to help me improve my presentation and clarify my arguments.

Finally, this dissertation would not have been possible without the expert guidance of my esteemed advisor, Prof. Wayne A. Meeks. Not only was he readily available for me, as he so generously is for all of his students, but he always read and responded to the drafts of each chapter of my work more quickly than I could have hoped. Although he is not a man of many words, his oral and written comments are always extremely perceptive, helpful, and appropriate. Of course, despite all the assistance provided by Prof. Meeks and others, I alone remain responsible for the content of the following, including any errors or omissions which may unwittingly remain.

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This page was last updated on  09/26/01
Copyright © 1999 by Felix Just, S.J.