I don't know when Jim will retire--or if he will retire. I have joked that I can't even get him to retire from the church's softball team, let alone Notre Dame. However, I do not think he will play softball this year. He SHOULD NOT play softball this year! I hope he will be content to sit in the dugout and keep the scorebook and yell out the batting order.
Last night our former small group at church invited Jim to talk about Jubilees, the book that has been the basis of much of his life's work. I was very happy to listen to their wonderful questions--some about details, some about the bigger picture and context of the book. I learned things that I had not known before (or had forgotten!) and I have lived with Jim and Jubilees for 40 years! It was a very good experience for Jim to have such interest expressed in his work. I felt regretful that I have not always expressed enough interest and have tried to do better during this time of retirement.
Jim wrote his doctoral dissertation on Textual and Historical Studies in the Book of Jubilees. 25 years ago he published The Book of Jubilees: A Critical Text. At one point he wondered if he would live long enough to finish the commentary he is working on now but as he is on chapter 46 of 50, I think and hope he will make it! In fact, he is beginning to think about what his next big project will be.
It is a privilege to be able to enjoy one's work as much as he does. I do remind him that his research does not have to stop just because his employment at Notre Dame stops. In fact, he'd have more time away from classes and meetings to do his research.
In any case, last night was a joy for me to hear him share his work and to love our former group members for their interest in his work and their affirmation for him.