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In Memory of Jacob Milgrom

June 8, 2010

As many of you already know, on June 5th Jacob Milgrom passed. I can do know better than to link to a few thoughts by his former student, David Wright, of whom I am a student myself:

It is unfortunate to have lost Jacob Milgrom, one of the truly
outstanding Jewish scholars of the Hebrew Bible of the last and current centuries. The author of hundreds of masterful articles and several books since his academic career began in 1955, he will be best remembered for his two superb biblical commentaries, a three-volume work on Leviticus in the Anchor Bible series and a volume on Numbers in the JPS Torah Commentary.

His work significantly altered the landscape of Pentateuchal studies by demonstrating the advantages and necessity of a close reading of the priestly prescriptions of the Torah (chapters on sacrifice, purity, festivals, and the priesthood). As it described and elucidated the system of thought in these texts, his scholarship revealed the integrity of priestly religion as a central phenomenon in ancient Israel. It also pushed scholars to reconsider the historical context in which these texts originated. His work became and will remain a foundational contribution to the understanding of Israelite and biblical religion.

(Read full text here)

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