I just found out that Tikva Frymer-Kensky passed on August 31.Â She was a fantastic scholar and she will be sorely missed.Â Here is the first part of a piece from U of Chicago, click here to view it in its entirety.
Tikva Frymer-Kensky, Professor of Hebrew Bible and the History of Judaism in the University of Chicago’s Divinity School, died at home Thursday, Aug. 31 after a four-year battle against breast cancer. She was 62.
Frymer-Kensky, an expert on Assyriology, Sumerology, biblical studies and Jewish studies, was perhaps best known for her work on women and religion. Her most recent works include Reading the Women of the Bible , which earned a Koret Jewish Book Award in 2002 and a National Jewish Book Award in 2003; In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth; and Motherprayer: The Pregnant Woman’s Spiritual Companion.
Frymer-Kensky earned a bachelor’s degree (A.B.) in ancient world studies from City College of New York in 1965, a bachelor’s in Hebrew literature (B.H.L) in Bible-Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1965, a master’s in West Semitics from Yale University in 1967, and a doctorate in Assyriology and Sumerology from Yale University in 1977. But it was not until years later that the scholar said she found her true mission.
“I realized that my years of academic study of the ancient world could have practical applications and my knowledge of ancient cultures, religions and languages could be of use in my own modern world. This sense of vocation sustained me,” she said in 2002 of her most recent work.
She was also the English translator of From Jerusalem to the Edge of Heaven by Ari Elon. In progress at the time of her death were a commentary on Ruth and a book on biblical theology.
Frymer-Kensky was named one of the Jewish Chicagoans of the Year in 2005 by the Chicago Jewish News. In 2006 she earned another distinction when the Jewish Publication Society published a collection of her articles, “Studies in Bible and Feminist Criticism,” as part of its Scholar of Distinction series. She is the first woman to have her work included in the series.
“She was unique. I don’t know of another scholar in the world who combined as she did mastery of Assyriology with sustained attention to feminist readings in the service of biblical theology,” said Divinity School Dean Richard Rosengarten. “Hers was a capacious intellect, and all her work was inflamed by her deep passion for the material both in its original context and in ours. This combination made her a remarkably compelling scholar and teacher, and one whose absence is deeply felt already.”