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Levine, Baruch


LEVINE, BARUCH (1930– ), U.S. Bible scholar. Born in 1930, in Cleveland, Ohio, Levine was educated in the public schools, but spent his afternoons at the Telshe Yeshivah, which provided him with a strong talmudic background. He learned spoken Hebrew with the help of tutors and by attendance at Hebrew summer camps. He graduated in 1951 from Case Western Reserve University after studying Comparative Literature and Romance Languages. At the time a religiously observant Jew of a modernist bent, Levine entered the rabbinical program of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. Among his teachers were H.L.*Ginsberg, who introduced him to the critical study of Bible, and the talmudist Saul *Lieberman. After ordination followed by military service as a chaplain, Levine served briefly as an assistant rabbi in Temple Emanuel, a Conservative synagogue in Newton Center, a suburb of Boston. After coming to terms with a crisis of faith, Levine realized that he belonged in scholarship and enrolled in a doctoral program at Brandeis, where he earned his Ph.D. under the great polymath Cyrus *Gordon in 1962. He joined the Brandeis faculty and remained there until 1969. At that time he came to New York University as professor of Hebrew and Near Eastern Languages in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures. After an administrative reorganization in which he played a strong role, Levine moved to the new Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies where he taught until his retirement.

Levine's numerous articles can be divided into two principal areas, biblical studies proper, with a strong emphasis on cult and ritual, and Semitic epigraphy. He has made significant contributions to the study of magic and ritual in the Bible as well as in Ugaritic and Aramaic texts. His talmudic training served him well in his studies of ancient law. He edited Leviticus for the jps Torah Commentary Series (1994) and Numbers 2136 for the Anchor Bible (2000).


L. Schiffman, in: L. Schiffman et al. (eds.), Ki Baruch Hu … Studies Levine (1999), ix–xiii, incl. bibl. of publications (xix–xxvii).

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

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