Abraham Malamat (1922–2010)

Abraham Malamat, professor emeritus of Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, passed away on January 21, 2010, just a few days before his 88th birthday.

Malamat made important contributions to the study of the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East–particularly in our understanding of the emergence of Israel, the collapse of the kingdom of Judah, and the relationship of Mari and the Hebrew Bible. He wrote several articles for BAR on these topics.a

According to Professor Shmuel Ahituv, one of Malamat’s former students, Malamat was “a gifted lecturer and a charismatic teacher. His lectures—whether before a classroom of students or before the general public—were a masterpiece of rhetoric…students used to crowd in, sitting on the steps and window sills [of the lecture hall].”

Malamat was born in 1922 in Vienna. In 1935, in the face of growing anti-Semitism, his family immigrated to Palestine and settled in Tel Aviv. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the Hebrew University and also studied at the École Biblique et Archéologique Française in Jerusalem and later at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute. He began lecturing at the Hebrew University in 1954.

Malamat’s publications, written in Hebrew, English, German and French, numbered more than 300. He served as editor of the Israel Exploration Society’s Hebrew bulletin Yediot from 1956 to 1967 and was on the editorial boards of the Israel Exploration Journal and the Zeitschrift für Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft.

He was a member of countless international societies and academies, and was invited to many universities abroad as visiting professor and guest lecturer. His students and colleagues published a festschrift in honor of his 70th birthday, Eretz-Israel 24: The Abraham Malamat Volume.—D.D.R.




a See, for example, Abraham Malamat, “Caught Between the Great Powers,” BAR 25:04, “‘Love Your Neighbor as Yourself’—What It Really Means,” BAR 16:04, and “The First Peace Treaty Between Israel and Egypt,” BAR 05:05.

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