1999 The New York Times Company
The New York Times
March 8, 1999, Monday, Late Edition - Final
NAME: Prof. David Daube
SECTION: Section B; Page 7; Column 4; National Desk
LENGTH: 330 words
HEADLINE: David Daube, 90, an Authority On Talmudic and Roman Law
BYLINE: By ERIC PACE
Prof. David Daube, an eminent authority on legal history who was best known for his writings on Talmudic law, other biblical law and Roman law, died on Feb. 24 in Oak Park Convalescent Hospital in Pleasant Hill, Calif. He was 90 and had lived in San Francisco for many years.
Professor Daube (pronounced DOW-beh) retired in 1981 after 11 years as professor-in-residence at the law school of the University of California at Berkeley. In those years he also served as the director of the Robbins Hebraic and Roman Law Collections in the law school's library.
In later years he continued to teach courses at the law school in Talmudic, Roman and ancient law. He had been Regius Professor of civil law at Oxford University from 1955 to 1970.
Professor Daube's collected works are being edited by Calum Carmichael, professor of comparative literature and adjunct professor of law at Cornell University. Professor Carmichael said that over five decades, Professor Daube, who came from a strict Orthodox Jewish home, had produced "work on the New Testament that was revolutionary."
Professor Daube was born in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, and went on to receive a doctorate in law in 1932 from Gottingen University after writing a dissertation on an aspect of biblical law. He left Germany in 1933 to escape Hitler's rule and to pursue his study of Roman law at Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge University.
He received a second doctorate, on Roman law, in 1936, then went on to be a lecturer in law at Cambridge and then a professor of jurisprudence at Aberdeen University before becoming a Regius Professor at Oxford.
His 1936 marriage to Hertha Aufseesser ended in divorce in 1964.
He is survived by his wife of 13 years, Helen SmelserDaube of San Francisco; three sons, Jonathan, of Manchester, Conn., Benjamin, of Toronto, and Michael, of Perth, Australia; two stepchildren, Eric and Tina Smelser, both of San Francisco, and six grandchildren.