New HUC Press book and lecture: "Nelson Glueck: Biblical Archaeologist and President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion" - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
Skip to main content

New HUC Press book and lecture: "Nelson Glueck: Biblical Archaeologist and President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion"

Main Content
Wednesday, March 1, 2006

"Nelson Glueck: Biblical Archaeologist and President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion" 

by Jonathan M. Brown and Laurence Kutler 

New Book Issued by HUC Press 

By 1950, Nelson Glueck, born in 1900 to a struggling immigrant Jewish family in Cincinnati, had excavated remains of the civilization of the ancient Nabataeans in Transjordan, described in detail a biblical copper-mining industry at the shore of the Red Sea, and shown how the Negev could actually support a large population if proper irrigation techniques were used. A personal friend of David Ben-Gurion, Abba Eban, Golda Meir, Henrietta Szold, and Judah Magnes, among other notables worldwide, this pioneer in the burgeoning field of biblical archaeology was known affectionately in the nascent State of Israel as "Ha-Professor" (the Professor). 

But Nelson Glueck simultaneously played another academic role. By 1950 he was well into his long tenure (1947-1971) as president of Hebrew Union College, the institution that had ordained him as a Reform rabbi in 1923 and supported his further studies toward the doctorate he earned in 1927 at the University of Jena in Germany. As president, Glueck oversaw the merger of HUC with the Jewish Institute of Religion. He expanded the Cincinnati-based institution to include schools in New York, Los Angeles, and Jerusalem. In California he encouraged the creation of the Schools of Jewish Communal Service and Jewish Education. And in Israel, he founded and nurtured the School of Biblical and Archaeological Studies in Jerusalem. 

In this biography, Jonathan Brown and Laurence Kutler have not only described and documented Nelson Glueck's many achievements. They have recorded some of the fascinating adventures of this extraordinary charismatic man whose life straddled two distinct Jewish worlds. 

Jonathan Brown received his rabbinical ordination from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati and currently serves a congregation in Winchester, Virginia. He is the author of Modern Challenges to Halakhah and articles in the Journal of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Dr. Laurence Kutler, the Director of David Posnack Hebrew Day School, in Plantation, FL, received his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literature from New York University and has taught courses in Hebrew, Bible, and Archaeology at the University of San Diego, Kent State University, and Old Dominion University. 

Special Event in Conjunction with Publication of Book: 

Digging Up the Past and Shaping the Future of Reform Judaism: The Life and Work of Nelson Glueck will be the topic of the next Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Food for Thought Luncheon Lecture as the series continues at noon on Wednesday, April 5th, 2006. Rabbi Jonathan M. Brown and Dr. Laurence Kutler will present their lecture in Mayerson Hall on the HUC-JIR campus, 3101 Clifton Avenue. Lunch is served at noon, and the lecture will begin at 12:30 and conclude at 1:30 p.m. Immediately following the presentation, Rabbi Brown and Dr. Kutler will be available for a book signing of their new book Nelson Glueck: Biblical Archaeologist and President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. 

The lecture, part of the Food for Thought Luncheon Lecture series is coordinated by the Department of Outreach Education at HUC-JIR and aims to educate the lifelong learner on time-honored and emerging issues in a faith-based environment. The cost for lunch and lecture is $8. Please reserve ahead by calling Marcia Cruse, (513) 487-3053 or send a check to HUC-JIR, Department of Outreach Education, 3101 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45220. Free parking is available and Mayerson Hall is handicapped accessible. 

Purchase the Book: 

Nelson Glueck: Biblical Archaeologist and Preseident of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is available through the HUC-JIR Bookstore: 513-221-4651 or through Wayne State University Press: 800-WSU-READ; 800-978-7323. 

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.