LEWY, JULIUS (1895–1963), Semitic philologist and Assyriologist. Born in Berlin, he began Assyriological studies with Heinrich Zimmern at Leipzig. After an interruption of five years in the military service, he resumed his studies in Berlin with Friedrich Delitzsch and Eduard Meyer and received his Ph.D. He taught at the University of Giessen from 1922 (professor, 1930). From 1929 to 1936, he was curator of the Hilprecht collection of cuneiform tablets at the University of Jena. Dismissed from his post by the Nazis, he left Germany in 1933 and taught at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1933–34. He then came to the United States and taught at Johns Hopkins in 1934 when *Albright was in Palestine. Lewy became professor at Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati in 1936 and taught Semitic Languages and Bible there until 1963, dying shortly after his retirement.
His principal works are Untersuchungen zur akkadischen Grammatik (1921); Studien zu den alt-assyrischen Texten aus Kappadokien (1922); Die Kültepetexte aus der Sammlung Frida Hahn (1930); and in collaboration with G. Eissler, Altassyrische Rechtsurkunden von Kültepe (2 vols., 1930–35). Lewy also published many articles dealing with philological questions, Akkadian grammar, the study of Assyrian-Babylonian religion, and problems concerning the study of Assyrian documents of Cappadocia which were discovered in Kültepe (the ancient Kanish). Lewy's works are of special importance for the study of old Assyrian texts. In this branch of Assyriology, Lewy was one of the most important modern researchers. In several of his works, he discussed problems arising out of the study of the ancient history of the Jewish people and biblical questions; for example Chronologie der Koenige von Israel und Juda (1927) and the problems of the Habiru and the Hebrews, on which he wrote in the periodical Hebrew Union College Annual (1939, 1940, and 1957). His wife, HILDEGARD LEWY, was also an Assyriologist. She replaced her husband at Hebrew Union College following his death.
W. Gwaltney, Jr., in: DBI, 2:59–60.
[Hayim Tadmor /
S. David Sperling (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.