It is always a special tragedy when a scholar dies relatively young. Victor Avigdor Hurowitz, a widely respected professor in the department of Bible, archaeology and ancient Near East at Ben-Gurion University, died unexpectedly in January at age 64 in the course of a hospital operation.
Hurowitz was an expert on cultic worship in the Hebrew Bible, especially in light of Mesopotamian materials. He analyzed the Biblical text in relationship to the literature and iconography of the ancient Near East and showed how the Bible should be seen in the larger context of the Mesopotamian world. His doctoral dissertation became a book and an extensive series of articles demonstrating that the Biblical account of the building of Solomon’s Temple in 1 Kings 5–9 was based on Mesopotamian literary models. Hurowitz showed that the Jewish Temple was seen both as God’s dwelling place and as a kind of Garden of Eden.