Bar-Ilan University Prof. Aaron Demsky will receive the Bialik Prize for Jewish Thought for 2014, the Tel Aviv Municipality announced on Thursday.
Demsky, a professor at the university’s Israel and Golda Koschitzky Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, has for the past 25 years designed a new, interdisciplinary field of research in Jewish studies known as Jewish Onomastics (the study of the origin, history and use of proper names). In 1991, he founded the Project for the Study of Jewish Names at Bar-Ilan.
In selecting Prof. Demsky for the Prize, the judges wrote, "Prof. Demsky is one of the most senior researchers of ancient Israeli culture. His book Literacy in Ancient Israel focuses on literacy and early writing and their influence on the culture of ancient Israel. The work gives in-depth expression to four decades of research in the field of relations between Israel and the ancient world, and provides a new understanding of the formation of Israel as the People of the Book."
The literary prize, awarded annually by the municipality for significant accomplishments in Hebrew literature, is named in memory of the poet Hayim Nahman Bialik. The prize was established in 1933 on the occasion of Bialik’s 60th birthday.
The Bialik Prize will be awarded to Demsky in December in the presence of Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and previous recipients of the award.