Posted in Obituaries

Joel L. Kraemer, 1933-2018

Joel L. Kraemer, 1933-2018 Posted on October 22, 2018

Joel L. Kraemer, the John Henry Barrows Professor Emeritus in the Divinity School and Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago died in Chicago on Thursday, October 11th, at the age of 85.  Born in Patterson, N.J., he held degrees from Rutgers University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, receiving his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Yale University.  A distinguished scholar in classical Arabic and Hebrew Studies, he was the author among other books of Humanism in the Renaissance of Islam, Philosophy in the Renaissance of Islam, and what has been recognized as a definitive biography of the 12th century Jewish Philosopher, in Maimonides:  The Life and World of One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds.  His projects at the time of his death included a long-awaited volume of Maimonides’ letters and a study of Jewish women in the world of Islam, based on women’s letters from the Cairo Geniza.  He was a member of numerous learned societies, including the American Academy of Jewish Research.  Before his appointment at the University of Chicago, he taught on the faculties of Yale University and Tel Aviv University.  He is survived by his wife, Aviva, in Chicago, in Israel by three daughters from his marriage to the late Roberta Knee—Judith Maisel, Susan Barak, and Sarah Kretsch, and nine grandchildren—and by his sister, Miriam Gray, of New Jersey.


Berel Lang
Wesleyan University