Marcus J. Borg, a scholar who popularized a liberal intellectual approach to Christianity with his lectures and books about Jesus as a historical figure, died Wednesday at his home in Powell Butte, Ore., of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. He was 72.
Borg was born in Fergus Falls, Minn., to a Lutheran family. He attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at Oxford, where he did research on the historical Jesus.
Borg was among a group of scholars, known as the Jesus Seminar, who set off an uproar with their very public efforts to discern collectively which of Jesus' acts and utterances could be confirmed as historically true, and which were probably myths.
His studies of the New Testament led him not toward atheism but toward a deep belief in the spiritual life and in Jesus as a teacher, healer and prophet. He came to the fore in the late 1980s and early '90s, just as a conservative brand of evangelical Christianity was gaining adherents in America and emerging as a political force.
He was among those who helped provide the theological foundation for liberals who were pushing back, defining Jesus as a champion of justice for the poor and marginalized.
Borg was for 28 years a professor of religion and culture at Oregon State University, where he held a chair endowed by an alumnus who said he had been inspired by Borg's research. His books "Jesus: A New Vision" (1987) and "Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time" (1994) were on many best-seller lists.
In 1983 he became an Episcopalian. His wife, Marianne Wells Borg, is an Episcopal priest and a former canon at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Ore., where Borg later served as a canon theologian. She survives him, as do a son, a daughter and a grandson.
Edgar Froese, the leader of the long-running and prolific German group Tangerine Dream — first an improvising avant-garde rock band, then an ambient electronic-music project, and finally an arena-filling machine of smooth and heroic synthesizer pulsations — died on Jan. 20 in Vienna of a pulmonary embolism. He was 70.
Over many periods and many different lineups, with Froese as the only constant, Tangerine Dream released more than 100 albums. In the mid-1970s, when the band was signed to the Virgin label, it could amass unit sales in six figures for an instrumental album, with little radio play.
Two of the group's most successful records, "Phaedra" (1974) and "Rubycon" (1975), had individual tracks lasting up to 20 minutes with no singing or drumming and minimal melodic or harmonic material.
Froese took piano lessons at 12 before turning to guitar. He studied painting and sculpture at what was the Academy of Art in West Berlin at the time. While visiting Spain in 1966, he met Salvador Dalí, whose insistence on following a path of originality inspired Froese's thinking from then on.
In the mid-70s, Tangerine Dream became known for performing in cathedrals. After a greatly oversold 1974 concert at the cathedral in Reims, France, Froese told interviewers, Pope Paul VI banished the group from any further performances in Roman Catholic churches. The next year they played in Protestant cathedrals instead.
Froese went on to score dozens of films from 1977 through the 1980s, including the Hollywood features "Sorcerer," "Thief" and "Risky Business."
NEW YORK TIMES