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Tov and Mazar Receive Israel’s Highest Honor

April 2009

Professors Emanuel Tov and Amihai Mazar, both of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, have been named as 2009 recipients of the prestigious Israel Prize. The prize, which is awarded by Israel’s Education Minister on behalf of the State of Israel, is given to Israeli citizens or organizations who have made outstanding contributions to their fields or to Israeli culture.

Emanuel Tov, who was awarded the prize for his Biblical research, is an expert in the Septuagint (the third-century B.C. Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) and the early versions of the Biblical text. He was the first Israeli scholar to publish Dead Sea Scroll fragments in the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert series (DJD), and in 1991 he replaced John Strugnell as editor-in-chief of the scroll publication team.1 Under his guidance, the once-lagging publication of the scrolls was completed at 40 volumes. In nominating Tov, the prize committee recognized him as “a leading researcher of international renown ... [who has] made very important contributions to the research of the Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scrolls.”

Amihai Mazar, who is the Eleazar L. Sukenik Professor of Archaeology of the Land of Israel at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology, received the prize for his research in archaeology. According to the nominating panel, he is “among the leading archaeologists today ... in the field of Biblical archaeology. His research is the foundation stone to understanding the history of the Land of Israel over a wide range of periods.” He has directed excavations at Tel Qasile, Tel Batash/Timna, Beth Shean and most recently at Tel Rehov.2 Mazar is the nephew of the great Benjamin Mazar, who in 1968 also received the Israel Prize for archaeology, and cousin of archaeologist Eilat Mazar, who is leading an excavation in the City of David.

The Israel Prize is presented annually in a Jerusalem ceremony in the presence of the president, the prime minister, the Knesset (parliament) chairperson and the Supreme Court president. The presentation takes place on Israel’s Independence Day, the fifth of Iyar, which falls on April 29 in 2009.

DJD Discoveries in the Judaean Desert
2. See Amihai Mazar and Nava Panitz-Cohen, “To What God?” BAR, July/August 2008.
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