Thursday, May 14, 2020

Thomas Oden Lambdin, 1927-2020

SAD NEWS: Reports are coming in from Jack Sasson's Agade List and elsewhere that Thomas Oden Lambdin, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University, has passed away at the age of 93.

Professor Lambdin was a premier — perhaps the premier — Semitist of the twentieth century. He took early retirement in 1983, the year I came to the Harvard NELC PhD program. I never took a class with him, but he came round the Semitic Museum now and then, so I did get to meet him and chat with him a bit. And I heard many stories about him from other students in the program, and from John Huehnergard, who came in the same year to take up the NELC Comparative Semitics post.

Professor Lambdin's influence on the field was incalculable, both at the elementary level and in the world of research. He published introductory grammars for Hebrew, Coptic, Ethiopic, and Gothic. All have been much used and highly influential. And his advances in Comparative Semitics and the historical grammar of Hebrew were profound.

Requeiscat in pace.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.