Alt, Albrecht°

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ALT, ALBRECHT ° (1883–1956), German Bible scholar. In 1908 he visited Palestine for the first time as a student in the Palaestina-Institut, directed by G. *Dalman. In 1913 he was appointed as one of the directors of the Deutsches Evangelisches Institut in Jerusalem. In 1921–23 he headed the German Evangelical community in Jerusalem and served as visiting director of the Institut until its activities were ended in 1938. Alt served as professor of Bible at the universities of Greifswald, Basle, Halle, and Leipzig. During World War ii he resided in Leipzig and was rector of the university in that city for some time until he retired in 1953.

Alt's first book was Israel und Aegypten (1909). Noteworthy among his other publications are: Die griechischen Inschriften der Palaestina Tertia westlich der Aruba (1921); Der Gott der Vaeter (1929); and Die Staatenbildung der Israeliten in Palaestina (1930). He also published many works on the geographical history of Israel during its various periods. Much of his research, published in the form of articles in the Palastinajahrbuch and in the Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palaestina-Viereins, was collected in Kleine Schriften zur Geschichte des Volkes Israel (3 vols., 1953–59). In Alt's works one can discern a trend toward illuminating the history of the occupation of localities, the political and administrative history of Palestine, and the role of the great powers in the Palestine area. He thereby created a scientific method that is adhered to by some of the most important contemporary researchers on ancient Israel. But the specific name the "Alt School" or the "Alt-Noth trend" generally refers to the scholars, mostly German, who subscribe to Alt's (and M. *Noth's) views on the nature of the traditions in Joshua 2–9, and on the period of the documents in Joshua 15–19. Alt prepared a revised edition of R. *Kittel'sBiblia Hebraica (19373), together with O. Eisfeldt. Beside his many articles on the biblical period, he excelled in his knowledge of later periods of the history of Palestine down to and including the Byzantine era, and made important contributions to research on the Negev and Roman times. A number of his books and articles were translated into English by R.A. Wilson in Alt's Essays on Old Testament History and Religion (1966), including Staatenbildung… and Der Gott der Vaeter.


W.F. Albright, in: jbl, 75 (1956), 169–173; idem et al., Geschichte und Aires Testament (1953), 211–23; Festschrift A. Alt (1953), 174–5.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]