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Arnold Band

(1930- )

BAND, ARNOLD (1930– ), U.S. modern Hebrew literature scholar. Educated at Harvard University (where he trained as a classicist, writing a dissertation on Aristophanes) and Boston's Hebrew College, Band was the founding director of the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of California in Los Angeles and the founder of the Comparative Literature Department there. He also taught at Harvard College, Boston Hebrew College, Brandeis University, the Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, Yale University, and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. In the 41 years he spent teaching at UCLA, Band had a major impact on the historical and critical study of Hebrew literature, through his teaching, publishing, and training of graduate students, some of whom are now leading scholars in their own right. Band stressed historical contextualization in all his work; he was keenly aware of the need to place modern Jewish creativity in its broader contemporary context, as well as in its relation to earlier Jewish creative expression. Further, he insisted that 19th- and early 20th-century Hebrew literature is best appreciated when studied in tandem with literature written in Yiddish, the two literatures being seen as one cultural continuum. In more recent years he turned his attention to Kafka. Band's books, published in both Hebrew and English include Ha-Re'i Bo'er ba-Esh (a collection of Hebrew poetry), Nostalgia and Nightmare: The Fiction of S.J. Agnon (1968) and the The Tales of Nahman of Bratlav (1978). Band also published more than 125 articles in Hebrew and English on a range of topics in modern Jewish literature and Jewish cultural life. He was the recipient of many major awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, and the National Endowment for the Humanities Award, and the National Foundation for Jewish Culture's award for lifetime achievement in social, literary and cultural studies.

[Jay Harris (2nd ed.)]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.