OFFICE OF THE CHAIR - DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY
November 8, 2019
UC San Diego and the world scholarly community have lost a valued friend and colleague. David Mordecai Goodblatt, Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of History and the first holder of the Endowed Chair of Judaic Studies, passed away on September 25, 2019 due to injuries sustained when he was struck by a moving vehicle while taking his morning walk. Dr. Goodblatt was 76 years old.
David Goodblatt was educated at Harvard College (Philosophy, summa cum laude, A.B. 1963), the Jewish Theological Seminary (M.H.L. 1966) and Brown University (Religious Studies, Ph.D. 1972). He taught at Haifa University (1972 - 1984), the University of Maryland College Park (1984 - 1988) and UC San Diego (1988 - 2017).
Dr. Goodblatt specialized in the history of the Jewish people in the Middle East from the sixth century BCE through the seventh century CE. He was the author of three monographs: "Rabbinic Instruction in Sasanian Babylonia" (Brill, 1974), "The Monarchic Principle. Studies in Jewish Self-government in Antiquity" (Mohr Siebeck, 1994) and "Elements of Ancient Jewish Nationalism" (Cambridge University, 2006), as well as numerous articles and reviews.
Professor Goodblatt served the university in many capacities: as director of the Jewish Studies Program, as a member of the Committee on Academic Personnel and on various committees within the Department of History.
In temperament, David Goodblatt was modest, kind, judicious and principled. He left a profound mark on those who worked alongside him, and on the innumerable undergraduate and graduate students who passed through his classroom and had the privilege of learning from a consummate scholar, who, despite his rigor and erudition, wore his learning lightly.
Dr. Goodblatt is survived by his wife Sasona, their children Keren, Michael (Kathy) and Grace (Dave), granddaughter Logan, and brother Jonathan.
Messages and remembrances may be sent to the family at DavidGoodblattMemorial@gmail.com.