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JERUSALEM – Moshe Greenberg, an influential scholar whose work won the first-ever Israel Prize for biblical studies, has died, one of his sons said Monday. He was 81.
Greenberg’s award-winning Bible scholarship bridged the gap between the commentary of ancient Jewish sages and modern-day religious studies, said Israel Knohl, a professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a colleague of Greenberg.
Greenberg died Saturday morning at his Jerusalem home, said his son Rafi Greenberg.
His definitive two-volume commentary on the Book of Ezekiel described, among other things, how the prohibition of murder became an unbreakable taboo with the Abrahamic religions because of the rise of a belief in man’s connection to God, Knohl said.
The Israel Prize is the country’s highest civilian award. Prizes are given in several fields on Israel’s independence day every year.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Greenberg immigrated to Israel in 1970 and became a prominent voice whose work occasionally touched on political topics. He countered those who used the Book of Joshua as a justification for certain forms of violence in defense of Israel, Knohl said.
In 1994, along with a colleague, he became the first person to win the Israel Prize for Bible research.
He is survived by his wife, Evelyn, and three sons. Rafi Greenberg is an archeologist at Tel Aviv University. Another son, Joel Greenberg, worked for decades as a journalist in Israel for publications including The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune.
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