Shelomo Dov Goitein Dead at 84

Shelomo Dov Goitein, whose writing on Islamic culture and Jewish-Arab relations are regarded as standard works by scholars in both fields, died of a heart attack at this home in Princeton, N.J. last Wednesday. He was 84 years old.

A prolific writer who published 600 books and articles in both Hebrew and in English, Goitein had been associated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton since 1971. Among his works are four published volumes entitled “Mediterranean Society,” which deals with the life of Jewish communities in the Arab world. He had recently completed a fifth volume in that series.

His other works include “Travels in Yemen” (1941), “Modern Ways of Bible Teaching” (1942), “Tales From The Land of Sheba” (1947), “Jews and Arabs” (1955), “Jewish Education in Moslem Countries” (1962), “Studies in Islamic History and Institutions” (1966-68), and numerous papers on the Cairo Geniza documents (1950-68).

Goitein was born in Burgkundstadt, Germany. He received a doctorate in Islamic Studies at the University of Frankfurt. In 1923, he immigrated to Palestine, where he taught and headed the Department of Education of the Palestine Mandate.

Before joining the Institute for Advanced Studies, he was the director of the School of Oriental Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem from 1949 to 1956. He came to the United States in 1957 as professor of Arabic at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1983, Goitein was awarded a lifetime annual stipend of $60,000 by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The awards are given to “exceptionally talented individuals.”

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