When Greatness is Lost: The Passing of Prof. Dr. Anson Rainey (1930-2011), זיכרונו לברכה

From A. Rainey's TWU Faculty Profile

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!

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4 thoughts on “When Greatness is Lost: The Passing of Prof. Dr. Anson Rainey (1930-2011), זיכרונו לברכה

  1. I thank God I had the opportunity to talk with him and work across the world with him on my projects. He was very helpfull and I pray God will bless his family with all the love and support they need to get through this passing. As we feel pain and loss…it is the Professor’s and God’s gain. Best wishes and thank you to Professor Rainey’s family for sharing him with me.
    He will be greatly missed. I pray the family will extend his works in his latest project that he was to share with me.

  2. I worked and lived with Anson on two excavations conducted between the University of Minnesota and Tel Aviv University. Hde was a great person and a dear friend. I was the senior research archaeologist for the University of Minnesota participation in the multi-national projects we conducted with Tel Aviv University. I fondly remember his jokes, his conversion to Judaism, and his students, especially “Zippy” whom he married! Both are buried in my memory. A great scholar and a greater human being, one image stands in my mond that defines him as a respectful person for all to imitate. Iw as with him when he chastized some children in Hebrew when they were throwing stones at a kitten that they had chased under a bus. This was the gentler side of a brilliant scholar tha had no equal. I will miss him, but he will always be in my heart and mind My wife,whom I met on the same excavation I shared with Anson, had many wonderful meals with him. There are so many fond memories – I am overwhelmed by his passing.

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