William Foxwell Albright: The Father Of Biblical Archaeology

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Introduction The great American scholar, William Foxwell Albright was an American Biblical archaeologist, and is considered to by many to be the “father of Biblical archaeology,” because of his contributions to the archaeological historicity of the Bible. “More than any other scholar Albright’s astounding corpus of books, articles, and public lectures defined a new relationship between archaeology and Biblical studies.” Professor Albright “introduced critical assessment of the historical context of scripture, instead of merely teaching it as Gospel, and his work helped establish the Bible’s value in historical studies.” Rachel Hallote wrote of Albright by stating, “It is hard to think about the early years of American biblical archaeology without coming up with the name William Foxwell Albright. Albright’s career and influence are so fully associated with American archaeological scholarship that he is usually referred as the ‘father of biblical archaeology’” He was considered an expert in many areas of study associated to the ancient Near East, particularly the Old Testament. “Albright’s most enduring legacy is his contribution to the establishment of a new paradigm of ancient Near Eastern Studies called biblical archaeology.” Furthermore, Albright was an authority on Near Eastern languages and became known in the archaeological world for his authentication of the Dead Sea Scrolls. His archaeological excavation work not only helped with the authentication of the accuracy of the Bible, but it served as a guide for the scientific work performed on excavation sites. Despite his achievements, there are scholars who are suspicious with the Bible being used in archaeological studies and in more recent years h... ... middle of paper ... ...honor, the title “Nobleman of Jerusalem.” Before his death in 1970, the American School of Oriental Research (ASOR) was renamed to honor its most renowned director as the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research (AIAR) in Jerusalem. “It is the oldest American research center for ancient Near Eastern Studies in the Middle East.” The Contributions Professor Albright, while he was director of ASOR in 1948: “He received an envelope postmarked Jerusalem. Inside was a pair of small photographs. He took up a magnifier and studied the images, which were fragments of the scrolls found by the boys. He recognized a passage from the book of Isaiah, rendered in an archaic Hebrew script, and grew excited. In a letter to John C. Trever, who had sent the photos from the American School of Oriental Research, he said, ‘…I should prefer a date around 100 BC.’”

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