Diringer, David

views updated


DIRINGER, DAVID (1900–1975), epigraphist and Orientalist. Born in Tłumacz (Galicia), Diringer studied at the University of Florence (Italy), where he later was appointed professor (1931–33). Diringer's main interest at first was the culture of the Etruscans. As a consequence of the anti-Jewish policy of Fascist Italy, Diringer moved in 1939 to England where he taught Semitic epigraphy at Cambridge University (1948). In England he specialized in Northwestern Semitic inscriptions and the history of the alphabet. At Cambridge he founded in his home a museum devoted to the history of writing systems, which he later transferred to Tel Aviv.

Among Diringer's publications, some scholarly and some for the general public, are Le iscrizioni antico-ebraiche palestinesi (1934); L'alfabeto nella storia della civiltà (1937); The Alphabet – A Key to the History of Mankind (1953) together with R. Regensburger; The Hand-Produced Book (1953); The Illuminated Book, Its History and Production (1958); Writing: Ancient Peoples and Places (1962); The Illuminated Book (19672); The Story of the Aleph Bet (1960); Writing (1962); The Alphabet (2 vols., 1963); and The Book Before Printing: Ancient, Medieval and Oriental (1982).

[Meir Ydit]