Ephraim Urbach

Ephraim Urbach

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Ephraim Elimelech Urbach (Hebrew: אפרים אלימלך אורבך) (born 1912; died 3 July 1991) was a distinguished scholar of Judaism. He is best known for his landmark works on rabbinic thought, The Sages, and for research on the Tosafot
Tosafot
The Tosafot or Tosafos are medieval commentaries on the Talmud. They take the form of critical and explanatory glosses, printed, in almost all Talmud editions, on the outer margin and opposite Rashi's notes...

. He was an unsuccessful candidate to be President of Israel
President of Israel
The President of the State of Israel is the head of state of Israel. The position is largely an apolitical ceremonial figurehead role, with the real executive power lying in the hands of the Prime Minister. The current president is Shimon Peres who took office on 15 July 2007...

 in 1973.

A professor of Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; ; abbreviated HUJI) is Israel's second-oldest university, after the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The Hebrew University has three campuses in Jerusalem and one in Rehovot. The world's largest Jewish studies library is located on its Edmond J...

, Urbach was a member and president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, based in Jerusalem, was set up in 1961 by the State of Israel to foster contact between scholars from the sciences and humanities in Israel, to advise the government on research projects of national importance, and to promote excellence. It comprises...

.

Life


Urbach was born in Białystok, Poland, to a hasidic family. He studied in Rome and Breslau, where he received rabbinic ordination. He emigrated to Palestine in 1937. He served as a rabbi in the British army during World War II. He also took part in Israel's War of Independence and thereafter worked for several educational institutions before joining the Hebrew University faculty in 1953.

Urbach died on 3 July 1991 at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem after a long illness. The cause of death is undisclosed. He is buried at the Mount of Olives
Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives is a mountain ridge in East Jerusalem with three peaks running from north to south. The highest, at-Tur, rises to 818 meters . It is named for the olive groves that once covered its slopes...

 in Jerusalem, near Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

.

Works

  • The Sages - his major work.

  • in Ephraim Urbach, דרשות חז"ל על נביאי אומות העולם ועל פרשת בלעם "Rabbinic Exegesis About Gentile Prophets And The Balaam Passage" (Hebrew), Tarbitz (25:1956), Urbach explored the interpretation of the rabbis about Gittin 57a where Onkelos raises up Balaam from hell, and concluded that Balaam was not a reference to Jesus in the Talmud
    Jesus in the Talmud
    The Talmud contains passages that some scholars have concluded are references to Christian traditions about Jesus.The history of textual transmission of these passages is complex and scholars are not agreed concerning which passages are original, and which were added later or removed later in...

    .

Awards

  • In 1955, Urbach was awarded the Israel Prize
    Israel Prize
    The Israel Prize is an award handed out by the State of Israel and is largely regarded as the state's highest honor. It is presented annually, on Israeli Independence Day, in a state ceremony in Jerusalem, in the presence of the President, the Prime Minister, the Knesset chairperson, and the...

    , for Jewish studies
    Jewish studies
    Jewish studies is an academic discipline centered on the study of Jews and Judaism. Jewish studies is interdisciplinary and combines aspects of history , religious studies, archeology, sociology, languages , political science, area studies, women's studies, and ethnic studies...

    .
  • In 1983, he was a co-recipient (jointly with Nechama Leibowitz
    Nechama Leibowitz
    Nechama Leibowitz was a noted Israeli Bible scholar and commentator who rekindled interest in Bible study.-Biography:Nechama Leibowitz was born to an Orthodox Jewish family in Riga two years after her elder brother, the philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz. The family moved to Berlin in 1919...

    ) of the Bialik Prize
    Bialik Prize
    The Bialik Prize is an annual literary award given by the municipality of Tel Aviv, Israel for significant accomplishments in Hebrew literature. The prize is named in memory of Hayyim Nahman Bialik. There are two separate prizes, one specifically for "Literature", which is in the field of fiction,...

     for Jewish thought.

See also

  • List of Bialik Prize recipients
    Bialik Prize
    The Bialik Prize is an annual literary award given by the municipality of Tel Aviv, Israel for significant accomplishments in Hebrew literature. The prize is named in memory of Hayyim Nahman Bialik. There are two separate prizes, one specifically for "Literature", which is in the field of fiction,...

  • List of Israel Prize recipients
  • Urbach
    Urbach
    -Places:*several places in Germany:**Urbach, Baden-Württemberg**Urbach, Rhineland-Palatinate**Urbach, Thuringia*the village of Urbach in Moselle, France, which is the burial site of J. F. Oberlin.*a valley in Oberhasli, Switzerland-Scientific Term:...