Good old Claude finally croaked on the night of 31 October, almost 101 years old. He wrote one of the best books I’ve ever read, Tristes Tropiques. And in it he observes that whenever he was stuck for inspiration, he would turn to Marx. One of the key figures in what was known as structuralism, especially in anthropology, much of his work is still damn good and worth reading. It’s impossible to understand the shape of most disciplines today without Claude, since the shock-waves of his work went very wide (although some biblical critics like to think they’re immune). So Jim West really stuffed up with this comment:

He was important, ever so briefly, to some biblical scholars, as the proponent of a new methodology for biblical studies. As happens with all fads, however, his methodological day soon passed.

Dear me, Jim. Without Claude, none of the more interesting things happening in literary criticism, anthropology and biblical studies today. It would help if you read at least Tristes Tropiques. A Christmas gift?

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