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Shmuel Safrai

SAFRAI, SHMUEL (1919–2003), scholar in the fields of Jewish history, Talmud, and Bible. Safrai was born in Warsaw and arrived in Palestine with his parents in 1922. From 1931 to 1939 he studied at the Merkaz ha-Rav Yeshivah, being ordained there as a rabbi at the age of 20. In 1952 and 1957 he received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, becoming a professor there in 1978. With his colleagues David *Flusser and Robert Lindsey, he founded the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research, dedicated to the historical, linguistic, and critical study of the synoptic gospels. He was also a frequent contributor to Jerusalem Perspective magazine. Safrai received the Jerusalem Prize in 1986 and the Israel Prize in 2002 for "his great expertise in the Mishnah and Talmud, in Greek and Latin sources, and in the formation of nascent Christianity." He wrote over 80 articles and 12 books, including Pilgrimage in the Period of the Second Temple and Rabbi Akiva ben Yosef: His Life and Teachings.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.