Alejandro Díez Macho (1916-1984)

Alejandro Díez Macho (1916-1984) was a Spanish scholar. Díez Macho was born in Villafría de la Peña (Palencia, Spain) in May 1916. He joined the the Roman Catholic Church in 1932 and began to study theology in the Gregorian University of Rome in 1935, though he was forced to interrupt his studies due to the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). In 1945 he received his Ph.D. in Semitic Philology from the University of Barcelona (now Universitat de Barcelona, Spain), where he taught Hebrew and Arabic languages and literature until 1973. From 1973 to 1984 he taught Hebrew language and literature at the Universitas Complutensis Madrid(formerly Universidad Central de Madrid, Spain). In 1949 he was commissioned by the Spanish Scientific Research Council (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIC), which he joined in 1944, as Editor-in-Chief of the Aramaic section of the Biblia Políglota Matritense, a vast scholarly editorial project on which he worked uninterruptedly until his death in October 1984. He then visited several European libraries (Bologna, Cambridge, Oxford, London, Milan, Parma, Rome) to obtain copies of different Targumic manuscripts. Likewise, in 1953 he was commissioned by the Vatican Library to study the Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts in the Jewish Theological Seminary of New York and other American libraries. As a result he microfilmed numerous manuscripts and organized a most remarkable collection now deposited in the CSIC. In 1956 he discovered in the Vatical Library the manuscript known as Targum Neophyti I, which was considered lost since the sixteenth century. He published this important manuscript with Spanish, French and English translations (the latter two made by Roger le Déaut, and Martin McNamara and Michael Maher, respectively) between 1968 and 1979. Díez Macho was also Editor-in-Chief, together with Sebastián Bartina, of the Enciclopedia de la Biblia, published in 6 vols. between 1963 and 1966 and later translated into Italian. A few years before his death he attempted at publishing an extensive collection of Old Testament Pseudepigrapha in Spanish translation, the first volume of which consisted in a general introduction by Díez Macho himself (with the assistance of María Ángeles Navarro and Miguel Pérez Fernández) and was published posthumously in 1984; vols. 2-5 were published between 1984 and 1987 by María Ángeles Navarro, Alfonso de la Fuente, and Antonio Piñero Sáenz, whereas vol. 6 has been published in 2009 by Antonio Piñero Sáenz; vol. 7, forthcoming, will close the collection. Spanish scholarship on Second Temple Judaism will always be indebted to this prominent scholar whose work contributed to lay the foundations of this field of study in Spain. — Carlos A. Segovia, Camilo José Cela University

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