Freedman, David Noel (1922-2008): 1932-1983
Summary Information
Title: Freedman, David Noel (1922-2008)
Creator: Freedman, David Noel, 1922-
Dates: 1932-1983
Extent: 10 linear feet
Location: offsite storage; prior notification required for access
Abstract:
Biblical scholar, professor of Near Eastern Studies, and director of the Program on Studies in Religion at the University of Michigan. Subject files relating to his scholarly and organizational activities, notably with the American Schools of Oriental Research and as editor of the journal Biblical Archeologist; class notes from courses at Johns Hopkins, including courses taught by William F. Albright; and material concerning his personal and professional relationship with Albright (and Albright's literary estate).
Call number: 861025 Aa 2
Language: The materials are in English.
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid prepared by: Kathy Koehler, May 1985 Seth Shaw, July 2006

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The first accession (boxes 1-7) came from the University of Michigan Program on Studies in Religion (donor nos. 7106 and 9733) in September 1984. The second accession (boxes 8-10) came from the same donor in May 2006.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Donor(s) have not transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

item, folder title, box no., David Noel Freedman Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Biography

David Noel Freedman is a member of the generation of Biblical scholars influenced by the teachings of William F. Albright, professor of Semitic languages at Johns Hopkins University. Their work has been characterized by the application of linguistic and archeological evidence to Biblical texts.

Freedman was born in 1922 in New York City to Jewish parents, David and Beatrice Freedman. After attending classes at City College of New York from 1935-1938, Freedman continued his studies and received his B.A. from U.C.L.A. in 1939. He then entered the Princeton Theological Seminary and was ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1944. For one year, between 1944-1945, he served as pastor at Acme and Deming in Washington. In 1945, he returned to school, earning his PhD from Johns Hopkins University in 1948. It was while a student at Johns Hopkins that Freedman met F.W. Albright. This marked the start of a friendship and a professional relationship which would continue until Albright's death in 1971, and which would have an important influence on Freedman's development as a scholar.

Upon receiving his doctorate in 1948, Freedman was appointed professor of Hebrew and Old Testament Literature at Western Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh. In 1960, he joined the faculty of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, where he taught until 1964. In that year, he moved to the San Francisco Bay area, where he served on the faculty of two institutions. He was professor of the Old Testament at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley from 1964-1971. During the same period, he taught courses in the Old Testament and Hebrew exegesis at the San Francisco Theological Seminary, where he also served as Dean of the Faculty from 1966 to 1970, and as Acting Dean of the Seminary in 1970-1971. In 1971, the University of Michigan secured his services as professor of Near Eastern Studies, and as director of the Program on Studies in Religion.

Freedman has been active in a number of organizations. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, a past president of that body (1975-1976) and editor of their Journal of Biblical Literature from 1952 to 1959. He served as director of the Albright Institute for Archaeological Research in Jerusalem in 1969-1970 and 1976-1978. His role in the American Schools of Oriental Research has been especially active. He served as vice-president from 1970-1982, and as director of publications from 1974-1982. This organization sponsors a number of publications, including the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, of which Freedman was editor from 1974-1978 and the Biblical Archeologist of which he was editor from 1976-1982.

Perhaps his most ambitious project has been the ongoing editorship of the Anchor Bible, which he assumed in 1956. This publication is made up of translations, with extensive commentary, of various books of the Bible. It represents a collaboration of Catholic, Protestant and Jewish scholars and is unique for its nonsectarian and scholarly analysis of Biblical texts.

David Noel Freedman died April 8, 2008.


Collection Scope and Content Note

Freedman's papers document his research and professional activities, most notably editing the journal Biblical Archeologist, and graduate studies under noted biblical scholar F.W. Albright. The papers have been divided into ten series: Subject Files, the Anchor Bible, the Genesis Project, the Religious Films Development Project, the Task Force on Biblical Authority, Class Notes, William F. Albright, Topical File, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Correspondence.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Archaeology.
  • Bible -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
  • Bible. English. Anchor Bible. 1964.
  • Bible -- Evidences, authority, etc.
  • Biblical archaeologist.
  • Religion.
  • American Schools of Oriental Research.
  • Genesis Project, Inc.
  • Johns Hopkins University.
  • Religious Films Development Project.
  • Task Force on Biblical Authority.
  • University of Michigan. Dept. of Near Eastern Studies.
  • University of Michigan -- Faculty.
  • University of Michigan. Program on Studies in Religion.
  • Albright, William Foxwell, 1891-1971.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Subject Files 1977-1982 [series]

The Subject Files, which are in alphabetical order and cover the period 1977-1982, chiefly reflect Freedman's involvement with the American Schools of Oriental Research. The files include incoming and outgoing correspondence, as well as memoranda and minutes. Centered around the time period when Freedman was editor of the Biblical Archeologist, the files contain a great deal of material documenting his involvement with the journal and the activities of his editorial staff. During this same time period, A.S.O.R.'s Committee on Publications, of which Freedman was chairman, decided to withdraw from a publishing consortium called Scholars Press and to produce its publications locally. There is interesting material documenting financial and editorial pressures leading to this decision. other files contain correspondence on controversial topics, such as the archeological discoveries at Ebla or the debate surrounding the Shroud of Turin.

Box   1  
Advertising
Box   1  
Albright Institute for Archaeological Research Director's Reports
 
American Schools of Oriental Research
Box   1  
Agreement with University Microfilms
 
Ancient Manuscript Committee
Box   1  
General (Memos, Minutes, etc.)
Box   1  
Dead Sea Scrolls (Frank Cross)
Box   1  
Dead Sea Scrolls Project
Box   1  
Dead Sea Scrolls Publicity
Box   1  
Annuals
Box   1  
Archeological Expedition Information
 
Board of Trustees
Box   1  
General
Box   1  
Meeting December 19-22, 1981
Box   1  
Books, Dissertations, etc.
Box   1  
Budget
Box   1  
Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
Box   1  
Business
 
Committee on Publications
Box   1  
1978-October 1979
Box   1  
November 1979-1981
Box   1  
Corporate Representatives
 
Correspondence
Box   1  
A-E
Box   1  
F-J
Box   1  
K-O
Box   1  
P-T
Box   1  
U-Z
Box   1  
Council of American Overseas Research Center
Box   1  
Current
Box   1  
Development
 
Executive Committee
Box   1  
1982
Box   1  
1981
Box   1  
Meeting December 7, 1981
Box   1  
Meeting September 14, 1981
Box   1  
Meeting September 3, 1980
Box   1  
Meeting September 5, 1979
Box   2  
Financial Statements 1979-1982
 
Meeting
Box   2  
April 27, 1981
Box   2  
December 19-22, 1981
Box   2  
May 4-5, 1980
Box   2  
November 6, 1980
Box   2  
November 14-18, 1979
Box   2  
November 17-20, 1978
Box   2  
Minutes and Memorandums 1978
Box   2  
Newsletter 1968-1980
 
Publications
Box   2  
General (2 folders)
Box   2  
Budget
Box   2  
Reports 1981-1982
Box   2  
Recruitment
 
Society of Biblical Literature
Box   2  
Meeting December 19-22, 1981
Box   2  
Meeting November 5-9, 1980
Box   2  
Meeting February 26-28, 1980
Box   2  
Staff
Box   2  
Subscription Services Report
Box   2  
Wright Memorial
 
Biblical Archeologist (journal)
Box   3  
American Schools of Oriental Research Correspondence
Box   3  
Authors 1977-1978
Box   3  
Business
Box   3  
Campbell (American School of Oriental Research Archeological Symposium)
Box   3  
Editorial
Box   3  
Eisenbrauns, correspondence with
 
General Correspondence
Box   3  
A-D
Box   3  
E-G
Box   3  
H-L
Box   3  
M-N
Box   3  
O-R
Box   3  
Sa-Shee
Box   3  
Shef-Sz
Box   3  
T-Z
Box   3  
Material
Box   3  
Promotion
Box   3  
Qadmoniot
Box   3  
Reader IV
Box   3  
Beale, Thomas
Box   3  
Biblical Archaeology Review
Box   3  
Biggs, Robert
Box   3  
Blacker, Irwin
Box   4  
Borowski visit November 17, 1981
Box   4  
Bortin, Virginia
Box   4  
Callaway, Joseph
Box   4  
Campbell, E.F./American Schools of Oriental Research Task Force
 
Charlesworth, James H.
Box   4  
General
Box   4  
Monograph
Box   4  
Cohen, I.L.
Box   4  
Cohen, Rudolph
Box   4  
Conference in Israel 1979
Box   4  
Corner, George
Box   4  
Crisler, Cobbey
Box   4  
Cross, Frank
Box   4  
Cutter/Sackler/Sonnenreich
Box   4  
Dahood, Mitchell
Box   4  
Dever, William
Box   4  
Dothan, Moshe
Box   4  
Drinkard, Joel
Box   4  
Ebla and the Old Testament
Box   4  
Eisenbraun and Japan Symposium
Box   4  
Filas, Francis L.
Box   4  
Fowler, Harry
 
Frank, H. Thomas
Box   4  
1980
Box   4  
1979
Box   4  
1978
Box   4  
Frerichs, Ernest
Box   4  
Geraty, Lawrence
Box   4  
Glock, Albert
Box   4  
Graesser, Carl
Box   4  
Greenfield, Jonas
Box   4  
Hachlili, Rachel
Box   4  
Har-El, Menashe
Box   4  
Heldruf Publications
Box   4  
Hesi Volume Books
Box   4  
Jackson, Mame
Box   4  
King/Estey/Misner
Box   4  
King, Phil
Box   4  
Kochavi, Moshe
Box   4  
Landsverk, O.G.
Box   4  
Leichty, Erle
Box   4  
Maloney, Paul C.
Box   4  
Matthiae, Paolo
Box   5  
Meyers, Carol and Eric
Box   5  
Millard, A.R.
Box   5  
National Endowment for the Humanities (2 folders)
Box   5  
Naveh, Joseph
Box   5  
Oren, E.D.
Box   5  
Owen, G. Frederick
Box   5  
Pope, Marvin
Box   5  
Porten, Bezalel
Box   5  
Rahmani, L.Y.
Box   5  
Rast, Walter
Box   5  
Said, Munira
Box   5  
Sardis Newsletter
 
Scholars Press
Box   5  
Business
Box   5  
Denver meeting October 28-30, 1977
Box   5  
Financial 1975-1979
Box   5  
Flanagan, James
Box   5  
Funk, Robert
Box   5  
General Correspondence
Box   5  
Withdrawal 1978
Box   5  
Shea, William
Box   5  
Sox, H. David
Box   5  
Trustees and potential ones
Box   5  
Tuttle, Gary
Box   5  
Van Hatten, Willem C.
Box   5  
Weinstein, James M.
Box   5  
Whallon, William
Box   5  
Williams, Prescott
 
Anchor Bible 1855-1983 [series]

The Anchor Bible series contains Freedman's correspondence between 1955 and 1983 with three of his editors: Joseph A. Fitzmeyer, editor of the Gospel of Luke, Jonathan Goldstein, editor of Maccabees, and P. Kyle McCarter, editor of Samuel. Freedman's detailed notes and suggestions on translation, and his editorial commentaries on the analysis of difficult passages are extremely interesting.

The files grouped under the 1965-1977 heading, part of the 2006 accession, contain correspondence between Freedman and the various contributors for the Anchor Bible Series. Some material is not dated and may fall outside the specified date range. The Anchor Bible Series is a series of retranslations of Old Testament biblical texts with notes and commentaries on the translation. The bulk of the material consists of comments, notes, and corrections by Freedman of the manuscripts submitted for publication. While many of the corrections are trivial, Freedman also gives a large amount of commentary expressing his opinions and thoughts about the ancient texts and appropriate translations. The folders are organized alphabetically by the manuscript author's last name.

Box   6  
Fitzmeyer, Joseph A. II Luke (3 folders)
Box   6  
Goldstein, Jonathan II Maccabees (2 folders)
Box   6  
McCarter, P. Kyle II Samuel (3 folders)
 
1965-1977
Box   10  
Albright and Mann-Matthew
Box   10  
Boling -- Judges
Box   10  
Brown -- John I & II
Box   10  
Buchanan -- Hebrews
Box   10  
[Caine-] Genesis
Box   10  
[McKenzie -- II Isaiah]
Box   10  
Moore -- Esther
Box   10  
Pope -- Job, Song of Songs
Box   10  
Walter -- I Corinthians
 
Genesis Project [series]

The Genesis Project is a commercial, educational firm for which the Program on Studies in Religion served in an advisory capacity. The project documented here is the transcription of four seminars which occurred between December 1974 and March 1975 and involved Freedman and other religious scholars. Two of the seminars dealt with the story of Abraham, one with the New Testament, and one with the stories of John the Baptist and the Nativity. It is the transcriptions, with penciled-in corrections, which make up this series.

Box   6  
General
 
Transcripts
Box   6  
New Testament Seminar December 11, 1974
Box   6  
Nativity/John the Baptist Seminar February 10, 1975
Box   6  
Abraham Seminar February 11, 1975
Box   6  
Abraham Seminar March 20, 1975
 
Religious Films Development Project [series]

The series on the Religious Films Development Project contains correspondence with officers of the Lilly Endowment, which funded the project from June 1976 through June 1977. At least two television films were produced under the auspices of the Project: Jacob and Joseph and The Story of David. Freedman acted in an advisory capacity for both films, to ensure historical accuracy in such details as costume and language. The series contains a partial script of Jacob and Joseph and the full script of The Story of David as well as publicity materials.

 
Lilly Endowment
Box   6  
General June 1976-June 1977
Box   6  
Alberg, Mildred
Box   6  
Lecky, Robert
Box   6  
Jacob and Joseph (proposed film: partial script)
 
Story of David (proposed film)
Box   6  
Part I: David-and King Saul (script)
Box   6  
Part II: David the King (script)
Box   6  
Newsclippings, publicity
 
Task Force On Biblical Authority [series]

Freedman was a member of the Presbyterian Church's Task Force on Biblical Authority in 1981-1982. The series concerning this task force contains the final version of the report, and two longer drafts, as well as material from the various meetings of the Task Force. These materials include correspondence, minutes and notes.

Box   7  
Report
 
Meetings
Box   7  
January 7-9, 1982

(San Diego)

Box   7  
December 3-4, 1981

(Cincinnati)

Box   7  
October 8-10, 1981

(Newark)

Box   7  
April 23-25, 1981

(Princeton)

Box   7  
January 2-4, 1981

(Denver)

 
Class Notes 1945-1949 [series]

The series of Freedman's Class Notes date from 1945-1949, the years he was a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins. There are a number of course notes which trace his progression through several Biblical languages, including Arabic and Aramaic. Freedman also took many courses on Oriental art and archaeology which were offered by W.F. Albright, as well as seminars on cultural history taught by Albright.

 
1945
Box   7  
Archaeology
Box   7  
Synthesis of Israelite Culture
 
1945-1946
Box   7  
Ancient History
 
1946
Box   7  
Ancient Oriental Archaeology
Box   7  
Arabic
Box   7  
Assyrian
Box   7  
Cultural and Religious History from Solomon to Exile
 
1946-1947
Box   7  
Ancient Oriental History
Box   7  
Comparative Semitic Grammar
Box   7  
Hebrew Syntax
 
1947
Box   7  
Arabic
Box   7  
Archaeology
Box   7  
Babylonian Aramaic
Box   7  
Toward a Synthesis of Israelite Culture
 
1947-1948
Box   7  
Ancient Oriental Archaeology and Art
Box   7  
Ancient Oriental History
Box   7  
Aramaic Inscriptions
Box   7  
Biblical Aramaic
Box   7  
Hebrew Phonology
Box   7  
Semitic Grammar
 
1948-1949
Box   7  
Old Testament History
 
Undated
Box   7  
Assyrian
Box   7  
Assyrian II
Box   7  
Books of Samuel
Box   7  
Deuteronomy: Rapid Reading
Box   7  
Genesis
Box   7  
Kings: Rapid Reading
Box   7  
Notes
Box   7  
Old Testament Theology
 
William F. Albright 1945-1975 [series]

The William F. Albright Series, 1945-1975 consists mostly of material (typically correspondence) relating to Albright posthumously and a large amount consists of correspondence between Freedman and Albright. Freedman assisted in executing Albright's literary estate, the compiling and editing of a comprehensive Albright Bibliography and a Biography of Albright. The materials are organized into three sub series: Background, Bibliography, and Correspondence. The Background subseries consists of obituary material written by Freedman about Albright and related material written by multiple authors giving biographical information about Albright. The sub series also includes material documenting the executing of Albright's literary estate. The Bibliography subseries consists of correspondence relating to the compiling and publishing of a comprehensive Albright Bibliography. The majority of the Correspondence subseries is made up of correspondence between Freedman and Albright for the majority of their acquaintance. It begins with a response from Albright to a letter of introduction written by Freedman in 1945, and continues as the two men develop relationships as mentor/mentee, colleagues, co-workers, and friends. There is a small amount of correspondence between 1945 and 1949, after which time the correspondence begins to increase in frequency and length. While there is evidence of a close relationship between the two men's families, the correspondence maintains a very professional tone and subject matter. The remainder of the sub series contains correspondence between Freedman and various individuals about Albright, Albright projects, and reminiscence about Albright. Some of the folders contain copies of correspondence between the various individuals and Albright, which were sent to Freedman after Albright's death. The latter correspondence relates mostly to the executing of Albright's estate, and contain a signed copy of the legal agreement between the Albright heirs and the Albright Institute which established the group responsible for executing Albright's literary estate.

 
Background
 
Obituary/Biography
Box   8  
Obituary Articles
Box   8  
Memorial Notice, BASOR
Box   8  
William Foxwell Albright, [New Catholic Encyclopedia Article]
Box   8  
Transcript: "Three-hour conversation at Frank Cross' home, Lexington, Mass. with him, G. Ernest Wright, Ted Campbell, and Noel Freedman." May 13, 1972
Box   8  
Mrs. Albright to G. E. Wright [Ruth Reminiscence of the "American School"]
Box   8  
Albright Letter [Intent to write Albright Biography]
 
Literary Estate
Box   8  
Manuscript

(Correspondence concerning the printing of Albright's previously unpublished "History of Religion in Israel" posthumously.)

Box   8  
Publication Fund
Box   8  
Publications
Box   8  
Responses to Requests for the Reprinting of Albright Articles
Box   8  
Bibliography
Box   8  
W.F. Albright Bibliography Project, General File
Box   8  
Re: W. F. Albright Publication
Box   8  
Braun-Brumfield, Albright Bibliography
Box   8  
Albright Bibliography
 
Correspondence
Box   8  
Albright, W. F. [between Albright and Freedman] 1945-1971 (7 folders)
Box   8  
Albright -- General (3 folders)

(Correspondence between Freedman and various individuals concerning remembrances of Albright and Albright's Literary Estate)

Box   8  
Albright, David F.
Box   8  
Bloomhardt, P. F.

(includes photocopies of correspondence between W. F. Albright and Bloomhardt)

Box   8  
[Fensham, Charles]

(includes photocopies of correspondence between W. F. Albright and Fensham)

 
Topical File 1955-1978 [series]

The Topical Files Series, 1955-1978 contains material concerning several projects and organizations in which Freedman participated. It includes research projects, periodicals, publications, the Michigan University Press, the Michigan State Board of Education and the Council on the Study of Religion. The Council on the Study of Religion (CSR) is comprised of several smaller organizations and Freedman was very active in a few of them. The Council on the Study of Religion subseries contains material relating to his activities in the larger organization and in these sub organizations: the Council on the Study of Religion in Michigan Public Schools and the American Academy of Religion. A few folders in the CSR subseries pertain to the publishing of a book for the American Academy of Religion based on a set of lectures given at a weekend conference organized by Freedman for the Program in Studies on Religion at the University of Michigan.

Box   8  
Applications for Research Grants
Box   8  
Association for American Colleges
 
Freedman-Cross Archaeological Project
Box   8  
Achziv
Box   9  
Bible Computer Project (4 folders)
 
Council on the Study of Religion
Box   9  
Council on the Study of Religion
Box   9  
American Academy of Religion Meeting -- October 4-6th, Correspondence
Box   9  
Big Ten Meeting -- Agenda and Minutes January 22, 1973
Box   9  
Big Ten Meeting -- Correspondence January 22, 1973
 
Council on the Study of Religion in Michigan Public Schools
Box   9  
1971-1975 (3 folders)
Box   9  
Materials from Conference of March 21-22, 1972 (2 folders)
 
Religion and the American Academic Scene
Box   9  
Bellah, Robert
Box   9  
Correspondence
Box   9  
Panel
Box   9  
[Journal of Biblical Literature]
Box   9  
[Lilly Endowment Proposal, Correspondence]
Box   9  
Michigan State and West Michigan Requests for Approval for Teaching Cert. Programs 1973
Box   10  
"The People's Choice, a play by David Freedman" circa 1932

(photo copy)

Box   9  
University of Michigan Press Correspondence
 
Michigan Quarterly Review 1982-1983 [series]

The Michigan Quarterly Review Series, 1982-1983 concerns the production of a special issue of the Michigan Quarterly Review (a University of Michigan scholarly journal) about biblical topics which Freedman co-edited with Michael Patrick O'Connor. The Topical subseries is a set of correspondence folders documenting the general process of coordinating the editing and publication of that journal issue. The Correspondence subseries contains folders of correspondence between the various contributors to the issue and Freedman and/or O'Connor.

 
Topical [subseries]
Box   9  
General
Box   9  
MS Logs
Box   9  
University Publications
Box   9  
Unlabeled
 
Correspondence [subseries]
Box   9  
Avision, Margaret
Box   9  
Band, Arnold
Box   9  
Baskin (Leonard) Artwork
Box   9  
Blamires, David
Box   9  
Brand, John
Box   9  
Chagall (Marc) Artwork
Box   9  
Coffin, Edna
Box   9  
Collins, John
Box   9  
Crossan, J.D.
Box   9  
Davis, William Virgil
Box   9  
Fink, Robert
Box   9  
Freedman, David
Box   9  
Frymer-Kensky, Tikva
Box   9  
Huffmon, Herb
Box   9  
Kavanagh, Aidan
Box   9  
Kirkpatrick
Box   9  
Levine, Baruch
Box   9  
Libolt, Clayton
Box   9  
Martyn, J. Louis
Box   9  
McGinn, Bernard
Box   9  
Meyers, Carol
Box   9  
Moore, Jim
Box   9  
Neusner, Jack
Box   10  
O'Conner, Michael
Box   10  
Oresick, Peter
Box   10  
Rasco, Karen
Box   10  
Rubenstein, Richard
Box   10  
Stafford, Bill
Box   10  
Weiss, Theodore
 
Correspondence 1955-1979 [series]

The Correspondence Series, 1955-1979 consists of correspondence between Freedman and the author indicated by the folder title and touches on several topics. Many of the individuals listed worked with Freedman on various projects. The folders are arranged alphabetically by last name.

Box   10  
Bailey, John
Box   10  
Campbell, E. F (2 folders)
Box   10  
[Campbell, E. F., Biblical Archaeologist Reader]
Box   10  
Dilella, Alexander (2 folders)
Box   10  
Greenfield, Jonas C.
Box   10  
Harrelson, Walter
Box   10  
Hartman, Louis F. (2 folders)
Box   10  
Hillers, Del
Box   10  
Moore, Carey
Box   10  
Myers, Jacob
Box   10  
Pope, Marvin
Box   10  
Radday, Yehuda
Box   10  
Speiser, E. A.