Regretfully, I was informed this morning of the passing of the one of the greatest historical geographers, and Semitic language specialists, of our time, Dr. Anson Rainey. He was prof emeritus of Ancient Near Eastern Cultures and Semitic Linguistics at Tel Aviv University and has been a full professor since 1981. He was also an adjunct professor of Historical Geography at Bar Ilan University and Ben Gurion University of the Negev. He also taught courses as Jerusalem University College and the Institute of Holy Land Studies.
Prof. Rainey’s faculty profile can be seen here.
He is probably best known for his 4-volume work on the Canannite of the Amarna Tablets (Canaanite in the Amarna Tablets: A Linguistic Analysis of the Mixed Dialect Used by Scribes from Canaan [4 vols.; Handbuch Der Orientalistik; Atlanta: SBL, 2010]), which can now be purchased through the Society of Biblical Literature.
More recently, he published along with R. Steven Notley of Nyack College The Sacred Bridge (Jerusalem: Carta, 2005), as well as the more popular version, Cartas’s New Century Handbook and Atlas of the Bible (Jerusalem: Carta, 2007).
Historical geography as a science, in the likes of Yohanan Aharoni and Michael Avi-Yonah, seems to be a dying art. Prof. Rainey was undoubtedly one of the best in the world, if not the best, in his field. His scholarship, as well as many of the collegial friendships he forged in his time, will be sorely missed.
May his memory be a blessing!