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In December of 2017, Lawrence (Larry) Stager, the most significant Biblical archaeologist of the past 40 years, passed away at his home in Concord, Massachusetts.
Larry received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1975, with a dissertation dealing with desert farming. He went on to teach Syro-Palestinian archaeology and Biblical archaeology at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago from 1973 to 1985, before returning to an endowed chair at Harvard as the inaugural Dorot Professor of the Archaeology of Israel and as Director of the Semitic Museum from 1985 to 2012. In his more than 40 years of teaching, Larry served as primary supervisor of over 50 doctoral students. He directed excavations at Idalion, Cyprus; at Carthage, Tunisia; and, from 1985 to 2016, the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon, Israel. Larry was named a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In 2016, he received the Percia Schimmel Prize from the Israel Museum for his contributions to archaeology in Israel, an honor rarely given to a non-Israeli scholar.a In 2018, the Israel Exploration Society will publish a volume of Eretz-Israel in his name—just the third gentile to receive this honor.
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In our free eBook Frank Moore Cross: Conversations with a Bible Scholar Hershel Shanks conducts five interviews with the renowned Bible scholar.
It is hard to overestimate the influence that Larry had on the field of Biblical archaeology; he revolutionized the field. To get a sense of his contribution, it is worth reviewing the scholarly landscape of the 1970s. After the death of William F. Albright, unexpectedly followed by the death of G. Ernest Wright, Biblical archaeology as a discipline was no longer fashionable. Archaeology in the United States was in the midst of a revolution, throwing off past ways in favor of new “scientific” methods. In such a context, admitting...
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