Dr. Shamma Friedman of The Jewish Theological Seminary Wins Esteemed Landau Prize for Rabbinic Literature and Talmud

Press Contact: Eve Glasberg
Office: (212) 678-8089
Email: evglasberg@jtsa.edu

April 11, 2011, New York, NY

Dr. Shamma Friedman, Benjamin and Minna Reeves Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), has been awarded the prestigious Landau Prize in Rabbinic Literature and Talmud. The Landau Prize was established in Israel in 1970 and is named for Dr. Michael Landau, who headed the Mifal HaPayis—Israel’s national lottery, devoted to funding medical, educational, social, and artistic causes—in its early years. The Landau Prize, awarded in many categories, recognizes the achievements and influence of Israeli scholars who have made significant advances in their fields and valuable contributions to the development of science and research.

Dr. Friedman has been associated with JTS since he entered The Rabbinical School as a student in 1958. He was appointed to the JTS faculty in 1964. After ordination, he pursued a PhD at JTS and was one of two students who comprised the first graduating class of PhD candidates. Dr. Friedman has served the institution in a variety of roles, including professor, acting librarian, and editor of Hebrew publications. During the 1970s and ’80s, he was the dean and director of JTS’s Jerusalem campus, now known as the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies.

According to the Landau Prize panel of judges, “Professor Shamma Friedman has, for a generation, been one of the leading scholars of Talmud studies and all its branches. There is no field related to Talmud Studies in which Professor Friedman has not only shed new light on the material with his meticulous methodology, but in many cases he has also pioneered new vistas and developed theoretical methodologies which have greatly influenced the scholarship in the field. His studies into the philological, textual, and redactional aspects of the Babylonian Talmud, the history of its transmission, and the reworking and reshaping of literary traditions—both in halakha and aggada—demonstrate how these sources made their way from Palestine to Babylonia, and set forth new and indeed revolutionary norms for all those delving into Talmud studies.

“Friedman’s publications—six books and over 100 articles—include thorough investigations into the history and development of early halakha; determining the relations between Mishna and Tosefta; the history of rabbinic Hebrew; the formation of aggadic traditions; and study of the halakhic and hermeneutic writings of the Geonim and Rishonim. Friedman has also trained an impressive list of outstanding graduate students who hold prominent positions in Talmud departments in Israel and abroad today. They perpetuate their teacher’s approach among wide audiences of Talmud students.”

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