His scholarly interests varied widely—from social justice ideology in ancient Israel to the perception of the inheritance of the Land of Israel and from the social structure of the Qumran sect to ancient Jewish liturgy.
Perhaps his greatest influence, however, was on Deuteronomistic studies. His book Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School (1972), based on his doctoral dissertation, is now considered a classic reference work. In one of the several articles he wrote for BAR’s sister magazine Bible Review (of which he was also a member of the editorial advisory board), Weinfeld remarked that “Deuteronomy marks a turning point in Israelite religion. It is not too much to call it a theological revolution.”a
Weinfeld was born in Poland in 1925 and immigrated to Israel with his family in 1947. He completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as his Ph.D., at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he then spent his career teaching.
Weinfeld was the founding editor of the Hebrew journal Shnaton: Annual for Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies until his retirement in 1993.
That same year he won the Ben Zvi Prize for the History of the Land of Israel for his book From Joshua to Josiah (Magnes Press, 1991), and in 1994 he was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize for Biblical Research.
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