Elias Bickermann

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Elias Joseph Bickermann or Bickerman (born June 1, 1897 in Chisinau , Russian Empire , † August 31, 1981 in Jerusalem ) was an American ancient historian of Russian origin.


In his first year of life, the young Bickermann moved with his parents from his hometown Chisinau to Odessa , in 1905 to Saint Petersburg , where he studied with Michael Rostovtzeff from 1915 . At the same time he was trained as an officer at the cadet institute in Peterhof and served from 1917 to 1921 in the Tsarist army, (briefly) in the Red Army and most recently in the Admiralty. After the final victory of the Bolsheviks in the civil war, he and his family went via Poland to Berlin in 1922 , where Bickermann studied with Eduard Norden and Ulrich Wilcken . In 1926 he received his doctorate on The Edict of Emperor Caracalla in P. Giss. 40 . In 1930 Bickermann completed his habilitation with a papyrological thesis (History of the Greek Hypomnema in Egypt) also at the Berlin University and then taught there as a private lecturer.

Due to the National Socialist Jewish policy, he lost his teaching license in 1933 and went to France to the École des Hautes Études in Paris. From 1937 he also worked at the Center National de Recherche Scientifique . In 1942, Bickermann and his wife Anita Suzanne, née Bernstein, whom he married in 1936, managed to escape from occupied France to the USA, where he initially taught at the New School for Social Research (1942-1946), at the Jewish Theological Seminary ( 1946–1950) and at Columbia University (1948/49) in New York . From 1950 to 1952 he taught in Los Angeles at the University of Judaism , from 1952 as a professor of ancient history at Columbia University. After his retirement in 1967 he taught again at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He died while on vacation in Israel.

One of Bickermann's main research areas was Jewish history during the Hellenistic period, and especially the history of the Maccabees . In 1973 he was elected a corresponding member of the British Academy . Bickermann was accepted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1974. In 1976 he received the Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize .


  • with Johannes Sykutris : Speusipp's letter to King Philip. Text, translation, investigations (= reports on the negotiations of the Saxon Academy of Sciences in Leipzig. Philological-Historical Class. 80, 3, ISSN  0138-5151 ). Hirzel, Leipzig 1928.
  • Chronology (= Introduction to Classical Studies. Vol. 3, Issue 5). Teubner, Leipzig et al. 1933, (2nd, revised edition. Ibid. 1963; in Italian: La cronologia nel mondo antico (= Paideia. 7, ZDB -ID 417844-0 ). La nuova Italia, Florence 1963; in English: Chronology of the Ancient World. Thames & Hudson, London 1968; in Russian and Cyrillic: Хронология древнего мира. Ближний Восток и античность. Наука, Москва 1975).
  • The Maccabees. A presentation of their history from the beginnings to the demise of the Hasmonäerhaus (= library of the Schocken Verlag. 47, ZDB -ID 521596-1 ). Schocken, Berlin 1935, (In English: The Maccabees. An Account of their History from the Beginnings to the Fall of the House of the Hasmoneans (= The Schocken Library. 6, ZDB -ID 2283917-3 ). Schocken, New York NY 1947).
  • The God of the Maccabees. Investigations into the meaning and origin of the Maccabean uprising. Schocken, Berlin 1937, (In English: The God of the Maccabees. Studies on the Meaning and Origen of the Maccabean Revolt (= Studies in Judaism in late Antiquity. 32). Brill, Leiden 1979, ISBN 90-04-05947- 4 ).
  • Institutions des Séleucides (= Bibliothèque Archéologique et Historique. 26, ISSN  0768-2506 ). Geuthner, Paris 1938, (In Russian and Cyrillic script: Государство Селевкидов. Наука, Москва 1985).
  • From Ezra to the Last of the Maccabees. Foundations of Post-biblical Judaism (= Schocken Books. 36, ZDB -ID 1102748-4 ). Schocken, New York NY 1962.
  • Four Strange Books of the Bible. Jonah, Daniel, Koheleth, Ester. Schocken, New York NY 1967 (In Italian: Quattro libri stravaganti della bibbia. Giona, Daniele, Kohelet, Ester (= Il mondo antico. 6, ZDB -ID 190648-3 ). Patron, Bologna 1979).
  • Studies in Jewish and Christian History (= works on the history of ancient Judaism and early Christianity. 9). 3 volumes. Brill, Leiden 1976–1986, ISBN 90-04-04395-0 (new edition in 2 volumes: (= Ancient Judaism and early Christianity. 68). Ibid 2007, ISBN 978-90-04-15294-6 , also contains Der Gott the Maccabees , but the bibliographical information on the first publications that the 1st edition had offered is missing; the German and French texts are translated into English in the new edition).
  • Religions and Politics in the Hellenistic and Roman periods (= Athenaeum. 5, ISSN  1721-3274 ) Edizioni New Press, Como 1985, (contains 25 articles that do not specifically concern Jewish history, as well as the only complete bibliography of Bickermann's publications).
  • The Jews in the Greek Age. Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA et al. 1988, ISBN 0-674-47490-2 (In Russian and Cyrillic: Евреи в эпоху эллинизма. Мосты культуры et al., Москва et al. 2000, ISBN 5-93273-024-2 ).


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Deceased Fellows. British Academy, accessed May 5, 2020 .