Sarna, Nahum M. 1923-2005

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SARNA, Nahum M. 1923-2005

(Nahum Mattathias Sarna)

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born March 27, 1923, in London, England; died June 23, 2005, in Boca Raton, FL. Rabbi, educator, and author. An authority on the Old Testament, Sarna used a cross-disciplinary approach, combining his knowledge of history, archaeology, and biblical scholarship to make the Hebrew Bible more understandable to general audiences. A native of England, he earned his M.A. at the University of London in 1946, and received a diploma from Jews' College in London the next year. After his ordainment as a rabbi, he moved to the United States to complete a Ph.D. at Dropsie University in 1955, while also teaching at Gratz College in Philadelphia. Sarna joined the Jewish Theological Seminary of America staff in New York City in 1957. Here he was a librarian for six years, and an associate professor of the Bible from 1963 to 1965. He then moved on to Brandeis University, where he was an associate professor for two years before being named Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies in 1967. Officially retiring in 1985, he moved to Boca Raton, where he continued to teach at Florida Atlantic University. Sarna was a popular teacher at Brandeis, where students benefitted from his gift for making biblical studies accessible and unintimidating. Sarna took the same approach in his many books, including such works as Understanding Genesis (1966), Exploring Exodus: The Origins of Biblical Israel (1996), and Studies in Biblical Interpretation (2000). Sarna was recognized for his translating and editing abilities when the Jewish Publication Society assigned him to be a translator and editor for a new edition of the Hebrew Bible and to serve as general editor for a 1973 edition of the Torah.



Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2005, p. B11.

New York Times, June 25, 2005, p. A13; July 6, 2005, p. A2.

Washington Post, June 30, 2005, p. B6.