Rafi Talmon was born in Haifa on January 9, 1948. In 1973 he completed his B.A. studies in Arabic and General History at the University of Haifa. He continued his studies at the Hebrew University where he received his M.A. degree in 1976 from the Department of Arabic Language and Literature. He wrote his doctoral thesis at Tel Aviv University in the Department of Semitic Languages on the subject: Problems in the Syntax of Sentence Theory in Sibawaihi’s ‘al-Kitab’.
He received his Ph.D degree in 1980 before the age of 33. Rafi joined the faculty of Haifa University and rose to the rank of Full Professor at the end of 2003.
During the years 1984-1985 Rafi Talmon served as the head of the Arabic Department in the Humanities Department of Seminar Oranim. From 1988-1990 he was the Academic Director of the Program for Arabic Studies in Givat Haviva.
From 1997-2000 he served as the head of the Department of Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Haifa.
Besides his research and teaching work at the university, he served in various positions in the academic administration and was a member of many important committees. Rafi was also a pioneer in the field of computerized teaching at the University of Haifa.
Throughout his years of activity, Rafi Talmon took part in more than 40 scientific conferences and lectures in Israel and abroad. He wrote scores of articles including leading works in the field of Arabic grammar.
In the last decade of his life, Rafi devoted most of his time and energy in the field of Arabic dialectology in Israel and headed prestigious world projects in this field. In September 2003 he organized an international research group at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem.
Within six months he group concluded the project “Study of Arabic Dialects in Israel”, in which Rafi played a central and decisive role until his untimely death on July 7, 2004.