The Ministry of Education announced today that Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Prof. (Emer.) Shmuel Ahituv has won the 2015 Israel Prize for Bible Studies. The prize committee was led by Prof. Edward Greenstein.
Ahituv is a past head of the Department of Bible, Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies and was the founder of the BGU Press, which he led for 14 years until shortly before his retirement.
The prize committee cited Ahituv as one of the foremost Bible researchers in Israel and the world. The prize citation notes that he has made many important contributions to the study of the history of the Jewish people in the Biblical age and to Biblical literary commentary. Among his contributions, he deciphered ancient Hebrew inscriptions and presented them in an accessible format used by scholars and students in Israel and around the world. Prof. Ahituv promoted and promotes research into Biblical literature through a series of commentaries that he established and edits, they wrote.
The other members of the prize committee included: Prof. Gershon Brin, Prof. Gershon Galil and Prof. (Emer.) Sarah Yefet.
Prof. Ahituv was born in Tel Aviv in 1935 and grew up in Rishon Lezion. He served in the IDF from 1953-1956. He completed his studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, during which time he joined the staff of scholars compiling the Biblical Encyclopedia eventually becoming the editor who finished that monumental work. Upon the encyclopedia’s completion, he initiated the “Biblical Encyclopedia Library,” which has published 25 volumes so far and continues to do so.
In the mid-1980s, he began the series of scientific commentaries “Bible for Israel” with Prof. Moshe Greenberg. He has been the sole editor of this enterprise since 1990. Ahituv continues to sit on a number of professional committees.