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Hallo, William


HALLO, WILLIAM (1928– ), Assyriologist and Bible scholar. Hallo was born into a prominent Jewish family in Kassel, Germany. His father Rudolf *Hallo was one of the founders of the discipline of Jewish art history, and successor to Franz *Rosenzweig at the Franfurt Lehrhaus. His mother was Dr. Gertrude Rubensohn Hallo. William Hallo and his sisters were among a group of Jewish children who were sent out of Nazi Germany and other Nazi-held areas in 1939 to England as part of the Kindertransport program. Rejoined by their mother (his father had died in 1933), Hallo and his sisters came to the United States in 1940. He earned his B.A. at Harvard in 1950 and spent 1950–51 at Leiden University, Netherlands, on a Fulbright scholarship studying the languages of ancient Mesopotamia with F.R. Kraus, among others. He came to the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1955 under Ignace *Gelb. He was also an assistant to Benno *Landsberger. Between 1956 and 1962, Hallo taught at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. He left for Yale in 1962, where he was appointed curator of the Yale Babylonian Collection and professor of Assyriology, and spent the next 40 years at Yale. Within Assyriology, Hallo specialized in Sumerian literature, history, and language. Applying his work in Assyriology to biblical studies, Hallo pioneered in a "contextual" approach that shows the importance of comparing and contrasting the respective literatures. With K.L. Younger, Hallo edited the three-volume The Context of Scripture (1997–2002), a collection of ancient Near Eastern documents. A highly prolific professional scholar, Hallo brought some of the results of his scholarship before larger audiences through his contributions to the Torah Commentaries published by the Reform movement. He also translated Rosenzweig's Star of Redemption (1990).


S.D. Sperling, Students of the Covenant (1992), 90–92; D. Weisberg, in: M. Cohen et al. (eds.), The Tablet and the Scroll … Studies Hallo (1993), 9–10; L. Pearce, bibliography of Hallo's publications, ibid., 11–16; W. Hallo, in: Vergegenwärtigen des zerstoerten juedischen Erbes (1997), 147–57.

[S. David Sperling (2nd ed.)]

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