Copyright 1999 American Lawyer Media, L.P.
The Recorder
March 1, 1999, Friday


BYLINE: Torri Still

Boalt Hall School of Law professor emeritus David Daube, hailed by a colleague as "one of the great legal scholars in the world," died Wednesday in Pleasant Hill. Daube, 90, had pneumonia.

Fellow professor emeritus Robert Cole said Daube, a biblical law scholar, combined a "total genius for personal relationships" with "very careful, technical scholarly research."

According to Cole, there was but one person who matched Daube's rare mixture of charm and scholarship: the late Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter.

Daube, a German native who grew up in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish household, left for England in the 1930s to escape Nazi persecution. He received a doctorate from Cambridge University, a master's from Oxford and served as a fellow at Oxford's All Souls College before being royally appointed to the position of Regius Professor of Civil Law at Oxford.

In 1970, Daube joined the faculty at Boalt Hall, where he would remain until retiring in 1994. His research and teaching focused on Roman law, biblical law, Hebraic law, and ethics, and he penned dozens of books and articles on subjects ranging from wine in the _Bible_ to the origins of detective novels.

At one point in his life, every academic chair in Roman law and ancient history in Britain was held by one of his former students. Between 1974 and 1993, scholars wrote four collections of essays in his honor.

Daube is survived by his wife, Helen; sons Jonathan, Benjamin and Michael; stepchildren Tina Smelser and Eric Smelser; and six grandchildren.

A memorial service at Boalt Hall is planned for April.