A Personal Landmark of Joy and Grief

Remembering Olof James Ribb (1946-2006)

This week (January 16th) marked the death of my dearest friend Olof James Ribb eighteen years ago at age 59. I invite you all, my friends, to read about this remarkable soul who was with us all too short a time at the link above. Over the three decades of our friendship we exchanged thousands of lengthly typed and handwritten letters, two or three a month, with in depth historical, philosophical, religious, and personal exchanges. I have all of these letters now, his to me and mine to him, as well as his personal library, which was extraordinary, combined with my own. One of my goals in retirement is to edit and publish those letters, which remain the best record of my own intellectual and spiritual journey from my 20s up to age 60.

Olof, was beyond amazing, one of the two or three most brilliant humans I have ever known, with compassion, sensitivity, and love for all creatures great and small. He is also among one or two of the best read humans I have had the pleasure of knowing. He became fluent in German, Swedish, Spanish, Italian and Latin-all self-acquired since his 20s. His knowledge of German literature and philosophy was profound, and one of my pleasures is to look through the marking and notations he made in his books.

During the last months of Olof’s life I was writing my book, The Jesus Dynasty, and he avidly read every draft and offered input and editing suggestions. Some of the fluency of that book I owe to him. I was able to present him with the page proofs just three days before he died on my last visit with him. You can see the look of pleasure on his face in this photo.

Last visit with Olof showing him the page proofs of The Jesus Dynasty


The loss of Olof is one of the great griefs of my life. I think of him often and remember him so vividly. I will link here a sample of some of his writing, never published, but you will get a sense of his mind, heart, and wisdom: Excerpts: A Collection of Thoughts, Quotations, and Observations.

Auf Wiedersehen, mein liebster Freund, Ich vermisse dich von ganzem Herzen und ganzer Seele.


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