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Moshe Greenberg papers

Ms. Coll. 1173

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Repository:
University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Creator:
Greenberg, Moshe
Title:
Moshe Greenberg papers
Date [inclusive]:
1962-1967
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 1173
Extent:
0.2 Linear feet (1 box)
Language:
English
Abstract:
Moshe Greenberg (1928-2010) was an American Jewish Rabbi, Bible scholar, professor of Oriental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and professor emeritus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This collection includes three folders of material that document a very small portion of Greenberg's work at the University of Pennsylvania, including correspondence with J.J. Finkelstein regarding the editing of E.A. Speiser's works; correspondence, proposals, and plans relating to the early days of the Modern Near East Language and Area Center; and correspondence, statistics, and reports of the Humanities Study Group.
Cite as:
Moshe Greenberg papers, 1962-1967, Ms. Coll. 1173, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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Biography/History

Moshe Greenberg was born in Philadelphia on July 10, 1928. Throughout his youth, he studied Bible and Hebrew literature, which complimented his upbringing in a Hebrew-speaking and Zionist household. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, earning his B.A. in 1949 and his Ph.D. in 1954. While working on his doctorate, he studied the Bible and Assyriology under Professor E.A. Speiser (1902-1965), whose teaching influenced his career. During the same time, he was also a student at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, where he studied the Bible and postbiblical Judaica. He was ordained as a rabbi in 1954.

From 1954 to 1970, Greenberg taught Bible and Judaica at the University of Pennsylvania. According to Jeffrey H. Tigay, he was "the first Jewish Biblical scholar appointed to a position in a secular university in postwar America ... [and he] had an important influence on the development of biblical scholarship." He won the Danforth Foundation's Harbison Award for Gifted Teaching in 1968 and had a pivotal role in the creation of the Modern Near East Language and Area Center at Penn.

In 1970, Greenberg and his wife, Evelyn Gelber Greenberg, moved to Israel, and from 1970 to 1996, he taught Bible at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1994, he won the Israel Prize for Bible research.

Throughout his career, he wrote several books and many articles and essays. He was active in translating the Ketuvim and is well-known for his Studies in the Bible and Jewish Thought (published in 1995) which bring together many of his essays on "the phenomenology of biblical law and religion, the theory and practice of interpreting biblical texts, and the role of the Bible in Jewish thought," (Tigay). He died in Jerusalem on May 15, 2010.

Works cited:

Scope and Contents

This collection includes three folders of material that document a very small portion of Greenberg's work at the University of Pennsylvania. The first folder includes correspondence between Greenberg and J.J. Finkelstein of the University of California, Berkeley's Department of Near Eastern Languages regarding editing the works of the University of Pennsylvania professor, E.A. Spieser. Ephraim Avigdor Speiser (1902-1965), who seems to have been referred to as "Fred" by both Greenberg and Finkelstein, was a highly regarded professor, archaeologist, and chief of the Office of Strategic Services' Near East Section of the Research and Analysis Branch in Washington during World War II. The correspondence of Finkelstein and Greenberg discusses the challenges of editing the works of a still-living subject and producing a work that fully reflected that subject's accomplishments, as well as consulting with archaeologist James B. Pritchard.

The second folder contains material concerning the early days of the Modern Near East Language and Area Center at the University of Pennsylvania. This folder consists of a proposal for a National Defense Education Act (NDEA) fellowship for the Modern Near East Language and Area Center dated 1966, a plan of operation for the Modern Near East Language and Area Center for 1966-1967, and correspondence relating to filling a position within the Department of Oriental Studies as well as hiring Thomas Naff as director of the Center.

The final folder in the series relates to the Humanities Study Group at the University of Pennsylvania. In early 1965, University of Pennsylvania President Gaylord P. Harnwell appointed W. Norman Brown, Lynn M. Case, Hennig Cohen, Lloyd W. Daly, Moshe Greenberg, Adolph Karmann, Glenn R. Morrow, Robert J. Nelson, Howard S. Powers, and William Roach to a study group to examine the needs of the Humanities at Penn. According to an April 1, 1965 letter, "the formation of this group [was] a result of concern by faculty and administration alike over the growing imbalance in the attention and resources devoted to the Humanities in comparison with other sectors of the University." The folder contains correspondence; meeting notices; data regarding faculty compensation, fellowships, secretarial assistance, and library facilities; and the report of the Humanities Study Group which was submitted on February 23, 1966.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  2016 February 15

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Kelin Baldridge

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Source of Acquisition

Gift of Evelyn Greenberg, 2015.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

At the University of Pennsylvania Archives and Records Center: Ephraim Avigdor Speiser Papers, 1921, UPT 50 S742

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)
  • University of Pennsylvania. Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations.
  • University of Pennsylvania. Middle East Center.
Form/Genre(s)
  • Correspondence
  • Reports
Personal Name(s)
  • Finkelstein, J. J. (Jacob J.), 1922-1974
  • Speiser, E. A. (Ephraim Avigdor), 1902-1965
Subject(s)
  • Education, Higher
  • Middle East--Study and teaching

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Correspondence with J.J. Finkelstein regarding editing the works of Professor E.A. Speiser, 1962-1963.

1 1

Correspondence, proposals, and plans relating to early days of the Modern Near East Language and Area Center Manuscripts, 1965-1967.

1 2

Humanities Study Group correspondence, meeting notices, statistics and report, 1963-1966.

1 3