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Biblical Archaeology Review 48:3, Fall 2022

Milestone: Emanuel Marx (1927–2022)

By Thomas E. Levy

Emanuel Marx, Israeli anthropologist and expert on Bedouin societies, passed away on February 13, 2022; he was 94. Marx earned his master’s degree in Middle East history at the Hebrew University. In 1959, a scholarship enabled Marx to study for a Ph.D. at the University of Manchester in England. His dissertation, which focused on the Negev’s Abu Gweid tribe, was published as Bedouin of the Negev (1967) and includes ethnographic, geographic, and historical data that are invaluable for archaeologists.

In 1964, Marx established Tel Aviv University’s Department of Anthropology and Sociology, where he taught until his retirement in 1995. In 1976, Marx also founded an anthropological research unit at Ben-Gurion University’s Desert Research Institute in Sde Boker. In the early 1980s, I had a postdoctoral fellowship with Emanuel at Sde Boker, with a particular interest in his research on the Sinai Bedouin. Later, when writing up the excavations of the Chalcolithic temple at Gilat, I reached out to Emanuel for his insights on Bedouin pilgrimage—and how his findings might inform the emergence of early ritual centers. For archaeologists like myself, Marx’s research on contemporary Bedouin provided important insights into ancient nomads, their customs, and their relationships with surrounding states.

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