Amos Hakham, winner of the first International Bible Quiz, and noted scholar died last Thursday at the age of 91. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his sorrow in a statement released Sunday, saying that Hakham “inspired generations of students to study the Bible and instilled in them the concept of excellence in Bible study.”
Born in Jerusalem in 1921, Hakham suffered a head injury as a child that left him with a speech impediment. His father, a Bible teacher, educated Hakham at home so he wouldn’t be mocked by his peers
Hakham won the first International Bible Quiz in 1958. The first quiz generated a great deal interest among the Israeli public, including then-prime minister David Ben Gurion, another Bible enthusiast. Hakham’s accolade earned him a great deal of popularity and the title of “Person of the Year” by the now-defunct Israeli weekly magazine HaOlam HaZeh (“This World”).
Hakham served on on the editorial board of the Da’at Mikra bible series starting in the 1970s, and wrote eight of the volumes himself. The series is regarded as one of the most important modern Orthodox sources of biblical scholarship, combining modern scientific knowledge with traditional Jewish commentators.