Don Parry Added to BHQ Team

Donald W. Parry, a BYU Professor of Hebrew, has been added to the international editorial team for Biblia Hebraica Quinta, the fifth edition (thus “Quinta”) in the Biblia Hebraica series that is currently in preparation.

I have in my home library a copy of the third edition from the 1930s, often called the Kittel edition, as well as the current version, BHS, Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. This is such a standard tool you can see a picture of one on the FPR masthead (second volume from the right). BHQ promises to be a major advance in critical editions of the Hebrew Bible. Parry will be working on the Isaiah material. BHQ is being published piecemeal in (very expensive) fascicles; eventually when it is all finished it will be published in inexpensive two-volume sets. For more info on BHQ, see here and here.

I don’t know Don really well, but I am acquainted with him and consider him a friend. We spent what I consider an idyllic weekend together in the Kansas City area in September of 2000. The FARMS Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit was in town, and Don was brought out to be interviewed in studio at several TV stations and to give a fireside presentation to a very large group. I went to sort of second chair for Don, since it was such a big event. I did local TV interviews on site, and I lectured at Washburn University.

On Saturday we had a lot of time to kill before Don’s big fireside, so we got in his rental car and went to see some church history sites. I had never seen any of the Missouri sites before, so this was particularly enjoyable for me. I was blown away with how beautiful the rolling hills of Adam-ondi-Ahman were; simply gorgeous. We also went to see the setting for what would have been the Far West temple.

We were tempted to try for Haun’s Mill, but we were pushing the clock as it was and had to get back for the fireside. I’m sure a lot of people would not have been happy if the featured speaker didn’t show up because he was out with me looking at church history sites!

Anyway, I just wanted to take public notice of this accomplishment and offer a hearty congratulations to Don for this prestigious appointment.


  1. Kevin Barney says:

    Oooh, I just remembered that I introduced Don to Schlotsky’s, the chain deli famous for its round bread, for lunch.

  2. That is great news. Thanks for the heads-up.

  3. I came into my Hebrew class with Bro. Parry once with a bad headache from having skipped lunch. I was rubbing my temples just before class started when he noticed something was wrong and asked about it. I said (pretty bluntly), “I have a huge headache. I didn’t eat lunch.” He said, “Ah. Want me to give you some money so you can skip class and go get lunch?” I considered for a second whether he was serious and whether I was okay with this level of freeloading, then said yes, and… he actually did it! Took some money from his wallet and told me to get lost and go get lunch.

    Parry is a top-notch scholar and one of the nicest professors I ever had. BHQ is fortunate to have him.

  4. Kevin Barney says:

    Great story, Jack!

  5. Observer says:

    I used to love Schlotsky’s! As long as I can drown my round sandwich in vinegar.

  6. Congratulations to Dr. Parry.

  7. Mazel tov to Don! (I hope someone forwards him this post so he can enjoy.) He was one of my best professors at BYU–I loved taking Hebrew classes from him and touring Israel with our Intensive Hebrew group he led. He’ll be a valuable addition to the project.

  8. Since the door has been opened for Don Parry stories, I hope you don’t mind if I share mine.

    In 1993, I moved my family to Provo so I could start law school. We moved into a condo on the west side of town in August and began to attend church in one of the “family wards” there.

    The first Sunday we attended, Don Parry taught the Gospel Doctrine class. I don’t remember actually talking to him that first week, but we may have had a brief introduction. I didn’t know much about him at the time, but I did know that he was a religion professor at BYU.

    The next week we missed Church in Provo because we had a family event in Salt Lake. We got back home in the afternoon. Sometime before dinner there was a knock at the door. When I opened it, I recognized the person standing there as Brother Parry, the man who had taught the Gospel Doctrine class the week before.

    Bro. Parry reintroduced himself and proceeded to explain that in addition to teaching Gospel Doctrine, he was also a Stake Missionary, and that he had been out making some visits. He decided to stop at our place because he noticed that we had not come back to his class that day.

    He said something like this: “Since I didn’t see you in my class today, I wanted to check and make sure that I hadn’t said or done anything to offend you.” I explained our absence and assured him it had nothing to do with his teaching, which we had quite enjoyed. We chatted for a minute or two, he apologized for the interruption, said he looked forward to seeing us in his class the next week, and took his leave.

    The personal connection he made that day motivated me to attend and participate in his class in a way that I probably would not have done had he not stopped by. I had a tremendous school and work schedule during my law school years (full time law school, 20 hours plus a week as a law clerk, PLUS 16 hours a week working the overnight shift on the weekends, not to mention the wife, daughters, church calling, etc.) and it would have been very easy to just skip Sunday School.

    I’ve often remembered that brief, yet powerful moment. And it has only grown in significance as I have learned more about Bro. Parry’s scholarship. I learned that Bro. Parry was not just a tremendous scholar, but also a great Gospel Doctrine teacher who applied the principles that he taught in his own life.

    With apologies to Bro. Parry — who I’m sure has long since forgotten about that brief visit — I have told this story on several occasions when teaching other teachers why it is important to reach out and connect with their students on a personal level. In just a few minutes, he left a powerful impression, delivered a powerful message, and taught a powerful principle.

    Congratulations to Bro. Parry. I’m sure this project will be better as a result of his participation.

  9. Kevin Barney says:

    Terrific, Cris! Thanks for sharing.

  10. I had the privilege of taking two semesters of both Old Testament and Hebrew from Dr. Parry. He was one of the best professors that I had at BYU. He was probably one of the most humble, least presumptious, yet most highly decorated (in terms of academic accomplishments) professors that I have had in both undergraduate and graduate studies.

    One of the things that I loved about his Old Testament class is that we did not cover very much material in terms of chapters covered. Each class we would cover a relatively small passage from the Old Testament, often something that most would consider obscure or unimportant. For example, we spent an entire class period discussing the “law of the flows” as found in Leviticus 15, which covers the uncleanliness resulting from bodily discharges and the required purification rituals. This world scholar on the Old Testament firmly believed that the Book of Mormon was true, and that its statements regarding every point of the Law of Moses pointing to Christ was true (something that I think someone as accomplished as him in the Old Testament could easily overlook). Thus, we spent a large chunk of that class discussing the symbolism involved in the law of the flows, and how it points one to Christ. My experience in the temple has been greatly enhanced due to the insights I gained from this class (things like how the Hebrew word for “atone” means “to cover,” etc.)

    I’ll echo what others have said as well – he was very down to earth and very interested in all of his students (he referred to my wife and me as the “dynamic duo” in his class). He is a good man.

  11. Kevin Barney says:

    Thanks, JT. I never had a class from Don, who was after my time at the Y, so I very much appreciate hearing these stories.

  12. zionssuburb says:


    I was at that fireside in Kansas City and have an intersting side story. I had invited a friend from work who was Jewish. The opening prayer was given in Hebrew by one of his former students, and my friend turned to me afterwards and asked, “Is this how all your meetings are done”? After the fireside my friend spent several minutes conversing with Bro. Parry, he was especially engaging. What a wonderful event that was.