Jonas C. Greenfield

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Jonas Carl Greenfield (October 20, 1926 New York City - March 13, 1995 Jerusalem) was a scholar of Semitic languages, who published in the fields of Semitic Epigraphy, Aramaic Studies and Qumran Studies.

Greenfield studied at Yale, receiving a Master of Arts in 1951 and his doctorate in 1956 (with a dissertation on "The Lexical Status of Mishnaic Hebrew"). He taught at Brandeis University (1954–56), University of California, Los Angeles (1956–1965), the University of California, Berkeley (1965–71), and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1971–1995). In 1990 he became Caspar Levias Professor of Ancient Semitic Languages at the Hebrew University.

He was a member of the committee of translators of the Ketuvim (the "Writings") for the New JPS Translation of the Tanakh.[1]

In 1995 a festschrift was published in his honor, Solving Riddles and Untying Knots. Biblical, Epigraphic, and Semitic Studies in Honor of Jonas C. Greenfield.[2] In 2000 the American Oriental Society established a prize to honor his memory, the "Jonas C. Greenfield Prize For Younger Semitists".[3] The Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, has held the Jonas C. Greenfield Scholars’ Seminar since 1999. Israel Exploration Journal 45 no. 2-3 (1995) 61-200 was issued as the "Jonas C. Greenfield Memorial Volume." Obituaries, in addition to the latter, pages 83–84, include Ziony Zevit, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 298 (May 1995) 3-5 and Mark S. Smith, American Schools of Oriental Research Newsletter 45 no, 1 (Spring 1995) 1-2. For an appreciation of his work on Qumran and related texts see Baruch A. Levine, "The Contribution of Jonas Greenfield to the Study of Dead Sea Literature." Dead Sea Discoveries, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Mar., 1996), pp. 2–9


Among his many publications are:

  • New directions in Biblical archaeology, edited with Freedman, David Noel, (Garden City: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1969) ISBN 1-111-21308-9
  • Book of Job: a New Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text, along with Greenberg, Moshe, with an introduction by Nahum Sarna (Philadelphia: JPS, 1980)
  • Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum. Pt.1. Vol.5. Texts 1, Inscriptions of ancient Iran. The Aramaic versions of the Achaemenian inscriptions, etc. The Bisitun inscription of Darius the Great: Aramaic version, edited with Porten, Bezalel, (London: Lund Humphries, 1982) ISBN 0-85331-458-6
  • The Documents From the Bar Kokhba Period in the Cave of Letters: Greek Papyri, edited with Lewis, Naphtali; Yadin, Yigael, (Washington: Biblical Archaeology Society, 1989) ISBN 965-221-009-9
  • The Texts from Naḥal Ṣe'elim (Wadi Seiyal), The Madrid Qumran Congress. Proceedings of the International Congress on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Madrid 18–21 March 1991. Volume Two, (Madrid: Editorial Complutense, 1992)
  • The Wisdom of Ahiqar: Wisdom in Ancient Israel. Essays in Honour of J.A. Emerton, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)
  • The Aramaic Levi Document: Edition, Translation, Commentary, edited with Stone, Michael E.; Eshel, Esther, (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2004)

His published shorter writings have been collected:

  • Greenfield, Jonas C. `Al Kanfei Yonah: Collected Studies of Jonas C. Greenfield on Semitic Philology, ed. Shalom M. Paul, Michael E. Stone and Avital Pinnick, 2 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 2001).


  1. ^ The New JPS Translation of the Tanakh, (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society 1985), p.xxvi.
  2. ^ Solving Riddles and Untying Knots. Biblical, Epigraphic, and Semitic Studies in Honor of Jonas C. Greenfield, ed. Z. Zevit, S. Gitin, and M. Sokoloff (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbraun's, 1995).
  3. ^ Jonas C. Greenfield Prize For Younger Semitists