SLCL Latest News New Website

Religious studies graduate donates Anchor Bible Series to Department of Religion

11/21/2017  8:00 am

Photo caption: (from left to right: Professor Richard Layton, Douglas Hoffman '75, Professor Valerie Hoffman, and Professor Wayne Pitard)

Douglas Hoffman, Religion ’75, has donated the Anchor Bible Commentary Series—the world’s leading academic resource for biblical studies—to the Department of Religion.

With more than 120 published and more on the way, the Series provides an annotated translation, verse by verse commentary, extensive bibliographies, and larger themed essays on each book of the Hebrew Bible, the Apocrypha, the Pseudepigrapha, the New Testament, and other important works not included in the Bible.

Originally published by Doubleday under the editorship of David Noel Freedman, the series continues to publish updated volumes with Yale University Press under the leadership of its current editor, John J. Collins. Contributors to the Series identify with a wide array of traditions, including Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, and secular.

Hoffman graduated from the (then) Program in Religious Studies in 1975 and has long retained a keen interest in the study of religion, even as he worked at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe).  At Cboe, his success as a self-employed market maker and senior employee of the Exchange allowed him, as he says, “the great pleasure of supporting Religious Studies at Illinois, because what greater purpose could there be for a public university than to teach students critically about their religions and the faiths of others?” 

Doug started collecting the Anchor Bible Series soon after he graduated from Illinois. Now that he and his wife have retired and are downsizing in preparation for a move, Doug decided to donate the entire series to the Department of Religion library. 

He and his wife Rebecca have also established the Hoffman Family Endowment Fund to enable the Department of Religion to purchase new publications in the Anchor Bible series, and also to fund the Hoffman Family Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Study of Religion, awarded annually to an outstanding graduating senior in the Department of Religion.

In addition to all this, Doug is chair of the Advisory Council of the Illinois Program in Jewish Culture and Society and a member of the Board of Overseers for the Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the largest Jewish seminary in North America for Jewish studies.