Matthew Black was born at Kilmarnock on 3rd September 1908 and died at St Andrews on 2nd October 1994. He was educated at Kilmarnock Academy and at the University of Glasgow, where he took a First in Classics and a Second in Mental Philosophy and was awarded a distinction in his BD. He went on to the University of Bonn in the 1930s, was a pupil of Paul Kahle, whom he later describes as ‘the doyen of European orientalists’, and collected his first doctorate in 1937. It is evident that Kahle exercised a decisive influence on the young Matthew Black and inspired him at an early stage of his development as he acknowledges in the preface of Rituale Melchitarum: A Christian-Palestinian Euchologion (1938), his Bonn thesis. Nor does he forget in the same preface his indebtedness to Professor W B Stevenson who had taught him Hebrew and Aramaic at Glasgow and whose Assistant he had been. Stevenson’s grammar of Palestinian-Jewish Aramaic (1924) is a reminder that the foundations of Black’s scholarship were laid in Glasgow.