Dr. Judah Goldin, a leading international scholar of midrashic literature who was professor of post-Biblical Hebrew literature here from 1973 until his retirement in 1985, died on May 30 at the age of 83.
Dr. Goldin, who was born in New York City, earned a bachelor's degree in social studies at CCNY and another in Hebrew literature from Seminary College, then took an M.A. at Columbia and another master's and doctorate at the Jewish Theological Seminary.
He was one of the first scholars appointed to teach Jewish studies in American secular universities in the 1940s, bringing advanced Jewish studies into the liberal arts and humanities programs of the nation. In addition to teaching at the Jewish Theological Seminary--where he also served as dean of the undergraduate College of Jewish Sudies from 1952 to 1958--he taught at Duke University, the University of Iowa, and at Yale University, where he was professor of classical Judaica when Penn asked him to become professor in the department then called Oriental Studies, but with links to other departments in the humanities including Religious Thought.
Among the classics in the field are Dr. Goldin's translations and commentaries, such as The Living Talmud, The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan, and The Song at the Sea. He was the world's leading authority on the Ethics of the Fathers, the best-known ethical treatise in Jewish literature, according to Dr. Jeffrey Tigay, a colleague and friend who chairs the Jewish Studies program here. He was a rabbi who also studied and enjoyed Western literature throughout his life, Dr. Tigay told the Philadelphia Inquirer, and he looked at the rabbinic writings as literature, not only as legal and interpretative text. "He viewed the texts not only within the context of Judaism, and not only against the cultural background of the Mediterranean world, but also within the intellectual context of the universal human issues they address." As a teacher he was admired for the clarity, wit and elegance of his lectures.
Winner of Guggenheim, Fulbright, ACLS and other awards, Dr. Goldin was an Annenberg Fellow and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Goldin's wife Grace, a poet and photographer, died in 1995, and he is survived by a son, David, and three grandchildren.
The Huntsman Program has announced to classmates of Shalini Narwani that a memorial service will be held in September for the 21-year-old member of the Class of 1999, who died on June 8 and was buried according to the full Hindu rites on June 10.
Condolences may be sent to her parents and sister in Trinidad through the Program, located at 3609 Locust Walk/6223.
Almanac, Vol. 44, No. 35, June 16, 1998