The Israel / Palestine Mission Network of the PC(USA) gives thanks for the life and work of Professor Frederick Bush – his quiet and gentle demeanor and his passion for justice. Those of us who knew him remember him as a thoughtful and compassionate man who lived a life of service to his community and to his church.
Professor Frederick William Bush, professor emeritus of Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, began his scholarly career after earning a B.A. in chemistry from the University of Washington, and a M. Div. and M. A. in Old Testament from Fuller Seminary. He then attended Brandeis University and earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Ancient Near Eastern Studies and classical Arabic. During his 35-year tenure as Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary he spent a full year’s sabbatical in Israel/Palestine studying the physical and historical geography of Palestine and led or directed a summer program in Biblical Hebrew studies for students. This program provided the opportunity to experience Israel and Palestine and to participate in archaeological excavations. Professor Bush retired from Fuller Seminary in 1998.
His work in Near Eastern Studies, Classical Arabic and Old Testament, his numerous trips to Palestine as well as his experience in Israel/Palestine kept alive an intense interest in the tragic conflict that has afflicted that land. After retirement, Professor Bush devoted the years to studying and lecturing about the causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He wrote and distributed a dozen focused short papers on particular aspects of the conflict,
In 2008-10, Professor Bush served on the Middle East Study Committee of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Among his contributions to the committee’s work was his careful and thoughtful analysis of the root causes of the 2008-2009 Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip. His clear thinking and his ability to listen to the facts rather than to the conventional wisdom, which largely rested on propaganda and myth regarding Palestine and Palestinians, informed his work. A longer background treatment to which he contributed is available from the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy.
The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. conveys its collective grief at the loss of such a friend as Professor Fred Bush. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to his wife Bernice, children Piper Cartland (Paul), Perry (Elysia), and Preston (Lynelle). We also share appreciation with the congregation of St. Mark's Presbyterian of Newport Beach, CA, where he was active, and with Fuller Seminary, which has provided many evangelicals with a compassionate and accurate view of Palestinian Christianity and Islam, and of Israeli Jewish perspectives.
Fred's obituary, as it appeared in the LA Times, can be viewed here. It includes suggestions for those who wish to make memorial gifts.