Baruch M. Bokser, professor of Talmud and rabbinical studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, died of cancer on July 12. He was 44 years old.
Bible Review readers remember Baruch Bokser for his article “Was the Last Supper a Passover Seder?”BR 03:02. In that article, Bokser concluded that both the Gospel of John and the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark and Luke—“reinterpret the Passover message, just as the rabbis did after [the destruction of the Jewish Temple in] 70 A.D., from a sacrificial meal celebrating the Exodus to a promise of future redemption.”
Ordained a rabbi at Jewish Theological Seminary, Bokser also received a Ph.D. in religious studies from Brown University. Beginning in 1974, he taught at the University of California at Berkeley, leaving that institution in 1982 for Dropsie College in phia, now the Annenberg Research Institute for Judaic and Near Eastern Studies. Then in 1986, Bokser joined the faculty at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where, at his death, he directed the program in ancient Judaism.
Bokser wrote several books, including Origins of the Seder (Univ. of California Press, 1984), and edited The History of Judaism: the Next Ten Years (Scholars Press, 1980).
Dr. Bokser is survived by his sons Benjamin and Yonatan, his wife, Ann Frieda Wimpfheimer, his mother, Kallia H. Bokser, and sister, Miriam Caravella.