His Professional Career and Life at the Academy

Ellis Rivkin

Dr. Ellis Rivkin is the Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Jewish History Emeritus at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was born on 7 September 1918 in Baltimore, Maryland and received his B.A. (with honors) from Johns Hopkins University in 1941 and his Ph.D. in history from Johns Hopkins University in 1946. He also attended the Baltimore Hebrew College and was awarded the B.H.L. degree in 1943.

After receiving his doctorate in 1946, Dr. Rivkin served as the Cyrus Adler Post-Doctoral research fellow until 1948 and taught Jewish history at Gratz College from 1946-1949.

In 1949, Dr. Rivkin was appointed Assistant Professor of Jewish History at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In 1953, he was appointed Professor of Jewish History. In 1965, he became the Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Jewish History.

Dr. Rivkin has served as Visiting Professor at Antioch College (1963); Visiting Professor of Jewish History, Dropsie University (1969); Visiting Professor of Jewish History, University of Utah, (1973); Visiting Professor, Judaic Studies, Southern Methodist University (1977); Visiting Zwig Professor of Judaic Studies, University of San Francisco (1984); and Seinsheimer Professor of Jewish Studies at Spertus College (1989).

In 1962, Dr. Rivkin was awarded a Simon Guggenheim Fellowship to do archival research on the role of the Jews in the development of early capitalism in European archives.

In 1965, in conjunction with an American Council of Learned Societies grant to read a paper entitled “Marrano-Jewish Entrepreneurship and the Ottoman Mercantilist Probe in the 16th Century” at the Third International Congress of Economic Historians in Munich in 1965, Dr. Rivkin was granted an American Philosophical grant to continue his research on the role of the Jews in the development of early capitalism in the Viennese archives.

In the course of his career, Dr. Rivkin has served on the editorial boards of the Hebrew Union College Annual and the Jewish Publication Society of America and has been a member of many honorary, learned, and professional societies, such as Phi Beta Kappa, The American Historical Association, The Economic History Association, the Medieval Academy of America, the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Academy
of Political and Social Science, the American Academy of Religion, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

In 1966, Dr. Rivkin was elected as a Fellow of The American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Rivkin has been awarded honorary degrees by the
Baltimore Hebrew College (1975), the Hebrew Union College (1989), and Spertus College of Jewish Studies (1989).

In 1977, Dr. Rivkin established The Globalist Research Foundation, which has published his analyses in the field of international affairs with a special focus on Israel and The Middle East in The Globalist Newsletter, The Globalist Backgrounder, The Globalist Spirit, and Letters From the Desk of Ellis Rivkin.

Dr. Rivkin has published five books:

1) Leon de Modena and the Kol Sahkal. Cincinnati, OH; Hebrew Union College Press, 1952.

2) The Dynamics of Jewish History. Sarasota, FL: New College, 1970.

3) The Shaping of Jewish History: A Radical New Interpretation. New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1971.

4) A Hidden Revolution: The Pharisee’s Search for the Kingdom Within. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1978.

5) What Crucified Jesus? Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1984.

And more than a hundred articles and reviews have appeared in The Jewish Quarterly Review, The Hebrew Union College Annual, The Journal of Modern History, The Canadian Historical Review, Commentary, Judaism, and The Reconstructionist. He has also presented many papers at scholarly conferences, colloquia, and other fora.

Dr. Rivkin is now working on a book with the tentative title, The Sun Never Sets: Great Britain’s Post Imperial Superpower Role.

Dr. Rivkin has lectured widely in the U.S. and abroad and has been especially active in
Christian-Jewish dialogue.

At the Hebrew Union College, Dr. Rivkin has served many terms as chairman of the Academic Senate and, from 1977 until shortly before his retirement, served as the
chairman of the Graduate Executive Committee.

In 1941, Dr. Rivkin married Zeida Zafren of Baltimore, Maryland; they have two daughters, Roslyn and Sharon, and four granddaughters.