Professor Tigay's Search for Lost Bible Scrolls Nets Anne and Robert Cowan Writers Prize

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

JEWISH COMMUNITY FEDERATION OF SAN FRANCISCO, THE PENINSULA, MARIN AND SONOMA COUNTIES -- For Tigay, who teaches in the Department of Creative Writing at San Francisco State University, this project came close to home.

His father, Jeffrey H. Tigay, is an esteemed scholar of biblical studies. Chanan notes, “My dad spent 16 years of his life, which happened to coincide with the vast majority of my youth, writing a 600-page commentary on the Book of Deuteronomy. In my family, Deuteronomy was something like ‘Goodnight Moon’ in other families.”

In fact, the genesis of “The Lost Book of Moses” was a conversation at his parents’ Shabbat table, when his father told the story of the scandal around Shapira’s forged manuscripts. “He gave me the details of the story as he remembered it, and, though I didn’t know it that night, he had just determined the next five or six years of my life. The idea that the original version of Deuteronomy could be out there in the world and that I could be the guy to find it was unbelievably tantalizing and meaningful, and in the end, that’s what kept me going through those years. It was a deeply personal journey.”