Emet Prize Laureates

Prof. Moshe Bar-Asher

2012 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Humanities
In Field: Linguistics

Hebrew and Aramaic Llinguistics

Prof. Moshe Bar-Asher

Jury Statement

“For his many studies in Hebrew and Aramaic linguistics; for his decisive contribution to the profound and extensive analysis of manuscripts and linguistic studies and for his contribution to the preservation of the heritage of the Hebrew language with all its layers and different sources.”


Was born in Morocco, where he studied in a heider as well as at a local school.

In 1951, at the age of 12, he came to Israel with Aliyat Hanoar. He studied in Yeshivat Hadarom and at theMoreshet Yaakov Teacher Training College in Rehovot.

After his military service, during which he combined combat duties in the Armored Corps with teaching in border settlements, he obtained his three academic degrees B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In 1977 he was appointed as a senior lecturer and four years later he became an associate professor. In 1984 he was promoted to full professorship. In 1977 he was elected as a member of the Academy of the Hebrew Language, and in 1993 he was elected as its president.

His studies are extensive and varied, including the study of biblical language, the language of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Mishnaic Hebrew. He is now the leading scholar in this field. Many of his articles, including Mishnaic Hebrew – an Introduction, have become the basis for the modern study of Mishnaic Hebrew. He has also made a crucial contribution to the study of Aramaic and especially the Christian (Syropalestinian) Aramaic, and has been a pioneer in the study of the linguistic heritage of North African Jews and the Jews of southwestern France. He founded the Masorot ("Traditions") and Mekhkarim Belashon ("Language Studies") periodicals as well as Megilot: Studies in the Judean Desert Scrolls (with Professor Debora Dimant).

From 1993 he has been editing Leshonenu ("Our Language"), a quarterly journal published by the Academy of the Hebrew Language. He has filled many positions at the Hebrew University, among them Chairman of the Department of Hebrew Language and Head of the Institute of Jewish Studies. He founded the Center for the Study of the Jewish Languages and managed it for 22 years. He also headed the Ben-Yehuda Center for the Study of the History of the Hebrew Language. He formerly served as President of the Council for Language Instruction and is today President of Brit Ivrit Olamit ("World Hebrew Union"). His studies won him many prizes, among them the Israel Prize in Hebrew and Jewish languages (1993), the Ben Zvi Award for the study of Oriental Judaism (2002) and the Rothschild Prize in Jewish Studies (2008).