Albrecht Alt (1883-1956) was a German scholar during the first half of the 20th century. He was a student of Kittel and replaced his chair at Leipzig. Alt, himself, often lived in Palestine and was very well acquainted with its landscape and geography and made a significant contribution in topographical and geographical understanding of the HB. He made important contributions to law in the HB and was the first to tease apart apodictic and casuistic laws. He also contributed to an understanding of the origins of Israel and its governmental structures. Alt argued for what has become known as the peaceful infiltration model to explain the appearance of early Israel. He posits groups of pastoralists who gradually settled at first, with more violent altercations in subsequent times. During the monarchy, he understood dynastic succession to be the norm in Judah and charismatic leadership to the norm in Israel (following Weber's idea of charismatic leadership). Alt made an important foray into the religion of Israel in his essay "Der Gott der Väter" where argued that the patriarchs each worshiped different gods distinct form Yahweh, but that Yahweh later supplanted them when the twelve tribes united. Alt was well versed in other Near eastern languages and civilizations, and was also made important contributions to understanding Greco-Roman and Byzantine Palestine. Alt's students include Martin Noth and Gerhard von Rad.


Hayes, Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation, p.26-27; Albright, "Albrecht Alt," JBL 75 (1956) 169-173.

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