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Fwd: [agade] OBITUARIES: For Itamar Singer (1946-2012)

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  • Charles E. Jones
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 20, 2012
      Forwarded from Agade:

      ---- Original message ----
      >Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2012 10:24:06 -0500
      >From: jack.m.sasson@... (on behalf of Jack Sasson <jack.m.sasson@...>)
      >Subject: [agade] OBITUARIES: For Itamar Singer (1946-2012)
      >To: "The Agade mailing list." <agade@...>
      >From Yoram Cohen <ycohen1@...>:
      >Itamar Singer (26th of November 1946 – 19th of September 2012)
      > “Life is bound up with death and death is bound up with life. A
      >human does not live forever. The days of his life are counted.”
      > (‘Prayer of Kantuzili’; translation by Itamar Singer.)
      >Itamar Singer was born on the 26th of November 1946 in Dej, Rumania.
      >His parents, both Holocaust survivors, met in Rumania after the War.
      >His mother Gertrude came from a German-speaking family from
      >Tchernovitz, Bukovina, his father Zoltán from a Hungarian-speaking
      >family from Dej, Transylvania. Itamar’s father, a community leader,
      >was repeatedly imprisoned by the communist regime for his Zionist
      >activities, until emigration visas, after years of denial, were
      >finally granted in 1958. Upon their arrival in Israel, the family
      >settled in Holon, which then became home for Itamar. During one summer
      >vacation from high school Itamar participated as a volunteer in the
      >Arad excavations conducted by Yohanan Aharoni, his first experience in
      >field archaeology.
      >From 1965 to 1968 Itamar studied at the Hebrew University in
      >Jerusalem, obtaining his B.A. in the departments of Archaeology and
      >Geography. During these and the following years he participated in
      >excavations at Megiddo, Beersheva, Tel Malhata, Tel Masos and Hanita.
      >From 1969 to 1973 he fulfilled his military duty as an officer in the
      >Air Force, serving as an aerial-photograph interpreter.
      >Simultaneously, he completed his M.A. studies at Tel Aviv University
      >in the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures.
      >His M.A. thesis ‘Geographical Aspects of the Proto-Hattian Problem’,
      >written under the supervision of Aharon Kempinski, anticipated his
      >future research into the ties between history, geography and theology.
      >From 1973 to 1975 Itamar continued his Hittite studies with Heinrich
      >Otten in Marburg. His dissertation, ‘The KI.LAM Festival’, completed
      >in 1978, was published in Studien zu Bogazkoy-Texten (1983-1984). It
      >was the first complete edition of a major Hittite festival and it
      >quickly became a highly influential study of Hittite religion.
      >Upon returning to Israel, Itamar joined the staff of the Department of
      >Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, where he became a full
      >professor in 1996 and where he continued teaching until his retirement
      >in 2006. Between 1984 and 1995 he also taught at other institutions in
      >Itamar's primary interests in the historical domain lay in the
      >international affairs of the 13th century BC, the Golden Age of what
      >he has termed the pax hethitica. Many of his studies dealt with the
      >diplomatic relations between Hatti and the other great powers as well
      >as with the Hittite domination of Syria, and especially the kingdoms
      >of Amurru and Ugarit. At the same time, his continued interest in
      >Anatolian religions led to an edition and in-depth study of
      >Muwattalli’s Prayer (1996). His interest in the prayer genre
      >culminated in his English translations of the best-preserved ‘Hittite
      >Prayers’ in the Writings from the Ancient World series (2002).
      >Published in 2009, Itamar’s book ‘Ha-hittim ve tarbutam’ (‘The
      >Hittites and their Culture’) was the first full-length treatment of
      >Hittite history and culture to appear in Hebrew. Its publication was
      >the realization of Itamar’s long-standing desire to present Hebrew
      >readers with a more accessible route to a distant culture from long
      >ago, one that nonetheless maintains much relevance for those
      >interested in the history of Israel and the whole region in antiquity.
      >This book has sparked an interest in all things Hittite for many young
      >students who study Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern studies.
      >In 2011 a volume titled ‘The Calm before the Storm’ (edited by
      >Billie-Jean Collins) brought together over 40 of Itamar’s previously
      >published studies, including his political histories of Ugarit and
      >Amurru. The volume’s epilogue includes his defence of Hittite
      >historiography as a response to postmodern trends in ancient Near
      >Eastern studies, driven by his life long commitment to the search for
      >the historical truth.
      >A volume of contributions from colleagues, friends and students in
      >honour of Itamar entitled ‘Pax Hethitica’ and edited by his former
      >students was published in Studien zu den Bogazkoy-Texten (2010).
      >In 2010 Itamar was awarded the prestigious Emet Prize, sponsored by
      >the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel.
      >During his long tenure at Tel Aviv Itamar carried almost
      >single-handedly the banner of Hittite studies in Israel, and his
      >classes and seminars on Hittite language and culture were regularly
      >attended by students from numerous universities. Itamar’s commitment
      >to his research and teaching was contagious, and despite the relative
      >obscurity and humble resources of the field, he supervised over the
      >years a large number of MA and PhD theses. His belief in and personal
      >concern for his students led him to involve many graduate and
      >undergraduate students in his research projects. Several of his former
      >students now hold academic positions in Israel and abroad.
      >Itamar was married to Graciela Noemi Gestoso, an Argentinian
      >Egyptologist. Alongside his academic duties and interests, Itamar has
      >been involved in various philanthropic and political activities,
      >notably the Israeli Peace Movement.
      >Itamar passed away on the morning of the 19th of September 2012 after
      >battling a long illness.
      >Yoram Cohen, Amir Gilan and Jared Miller
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