It is hard to know whom to acknowledge and thank for help in work that has spanned over thirty years. First, I would like to thank Judith Lawrence, my secretary at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, and Manuel Cruz, a Ph.D. candidate at the Divinity School, for their extensive efforts in preparing this manuscript and correcting the bibliography. I have been blessed over the years with secretaries and librarians who have been eager to do whatever was needed—and I thank them all for their assistance and encouragement. I have been fortunate to have had the guidance of wonderful teachers, from my undergraduate Bible professors H. L. Ginsberg, Yohanan Muffs, Shalom Paul, Moshe Held, and A.S. Halkin, through my graduate professors in Semitics and Assyriology Franz Rosenthal, Marvin Pope, J.J. Finklestein, and William Hallo. My sincere thanks also to my “adopted” teachers Thorkild Jacobsen and Moshe Greenberg, who have given of their time freely and generously over the years to discuss their work and mine.
In the final analysis writing is a lonely business; but it is not done in a vacuum. I am conscious of my readers and their questions—a consciousness that is not abstract. I would like to thank my students at Wayne State University, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and the University of Chicago, as well as the many participants in adult education courses and lectures that I have given over the years. Little by little their interests have become mine; their questions have shaped the way I look at scripture; and their intellectual needs have urged me to write—to go beyond the lecture or the class.
I would like to acknowledge my colleagues at the places where I have been fortunate to teach and learn. The faculty at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College was eager to discuss all matters of Jewish learning, and I learned a great deal from them during the years that I taught there. I have been fortunate to have had two stays at the Center for Advanced Jewish Studies of the University of Pennsylvania, a place wholly devoted to facilitating the work of its professors. My sincere thanks to the Divinity School of the University of