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Talmon (Zalmonovitch), Shemaryahu


TALMON (Zalmonovitch ), SHEMARYAHU (1920– ), Bible scholar. Born in Skierniwice, Poland, Talmon received his primary and high school education at the Jüdisches Reform-Real Gymnasium in Breslau, Germany. He immigrated to Palestine in 1939, after being interned for three months in Buchenwald concentration camp.

Talmon obtained his doctorate from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1946, focusing in his doctoral thesis on the text and versions of the Hebrew Bible and in particular on "double meanings" in biblical texts. He refined and supplemented these studies over the years, contributing to many areas of biblical study, applying text-critical procedures to the cultural and literary history of ancient Israel.

His sociological approach to text history advanced the understanding of various aspects of the biblical text, especially with regard to the Qumran scrolls found in the Judean Desert. His interests in the texts found in Qumran and in sociological research were combined in the study of the nature and history of the Qumran monastery.

Talmon was active in the field of biblical education both in Israel and elsewhere. He held the position of director for educational institutions in the "Illegal" Immigration Camps in Cyprus (1947–48). He taught at the major Israeli universities and served as a visiting professor at many institutions throughout the world. He was the dean at Haifa University and of the Faculty of Humanities at the Hebrew University and rector of the Institute of Judaic Studies in Heidelberg.

Talmon was also involved in forging cultural and intellectual links with the World Council of Churches and the Vatican and was prominent in international Jewish-Christian dialogue.

He held various editorial positions, published hundreds of articles, and edited numerous books, including Qumran and the History of the Biblical Text (1975). His books include King, Cult, and Calendar (1986), Gesellschaft und Literatur in der Hebräischen Bibel (1988), and The World of Qumran from Within (1989). A Festschrift written in his honor, Sha'arei Talmon, appeared in 1990.

[Elaine Hoter]

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