Biblical Archaeology Review 43:1, January/February 2017

First Person: Gedenkschrift

By Hershel Shanks

Regardless of how critical you may be of these First Person columns, I think you will learn something from this one that you did not know. If you know what a gedenkschrift is, you can stop reading. If you know a little German, you can easily figure it out.

A festschrift is a volume of papers honoring, usually, a highly respected senior scholar. Etymologically it is a “festive writing.” If the honoree has passed away, however, it is a gedenkschrift, etymologically a “memorial writing,” honoring and expressing thanks for the scholar’s memory.

Very recently the Israel Exploration Society published a gedenkschrift honoring the memory of Joseph Naveh, Israel’s leading paleographer who died in 2011 at the ripe old age of 83 (I am 86). (Ada Yardeni wrote a moving obituary for him in BAR.a)

Glancing over the table of contents, I noticed at least two surprising omissions: contributions from Robert Deutsch and André Lemaire, both eminent Near Eastern paleographers.

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