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William Foxwell Albright

William Foxwell AlbrightBorn: 24-May-1891
Birthplace: Coquimbo, Chile
Died: 19-Sep-1971
Location of death: Baltimore, MD
Cause of death: Stroke

Gender: Male
Religion: Methodist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Archaeologist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Biblical archaeologist at Johns Hopkins

Military service: US Army (1918)

Archaeologist and Biblical scholar William Foxwell Albright introduced critical assessment of the historical context of the scripture, instead of merely teaching it as Gospel, and his work helped establish the Bible's value in historical studies. He was known for his encyclopedic knowledge of the ancient Near East, and was considered a leading authority in the field of epigraphy (the study of ancient inscriptions) and biblical archeology. He is best known for his 1948 work authenticating the Dead Sea Scrolls, a series of fragmentary manuscripts discovered in 1947 in the West Bank of Palestine, which are the oldest known surviving copies of Biblical and biblically-related documents.

Albright's left hand was mangled in a farm accident when he was a boy and rendered largely useless. He was also very nearsighted, and taught himself Braille as a child because he feared that he would lose his limited eyesight. He studied and taught at Johns Hopkins University, made major contributions to the technique of dating archaeological ruins based on ceramic typologies, and edited the Anchor Bible Commentary Series volumes on Jeremiah, Matthew, and Revelation.

Father: Wilbur Finley Albright (missionary, b. 1859, d. 1944)
Mother: Zephine Viola Foxwell Albright (missionary, b. 1861, d. 1936)
Brother: Paul Foxwell Albright (b. 1893, d. 1965)
Sister: Mary Albright Stinespring (b. 1897, d. 1977)
Sister: Shriley Albright Phillips (b. 1899)
Brother: Phillip Ninde Albright (b. 1900)
Wife: Dr. Ruth Norton (m. 3-Aug-1921, four sons)
Son: Paul Norton Albright
Son: Hugh Norton Albright (b. 1928, d. 2011)
Son: Stephen Foxwell Albright
Son: David Foxwell Albright (attorney)

    University: BA Classic Literature, Upper Iowa University (1912)
    Administrator: Principal, Menno Public School, Menno, SD (1912-13)
    University: PhD, Oriental Seminary, Johns Hopkins University (1916)
    Teacher: Oriental Languages, Johns Hopkins University (1916-20)
    Administrator: Director, American School of Oriental Research, Jerusalem (1920-27)
    Professor: Oriental Languages, Johns Hopkins University (1927-29)
    Professor: W. W. Spence Professor of Semitic Languages, Johns Hopkins University (1929-59)
    Professor: Visiting Professor, University of Chicago (1946)

    Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (Editor, 1930-68)
    American Oriental Society (President, 1935)
    American Philosophical Society (Vice President, 1956-59)
    National Academy of Sciences (1955)
    Society of Biblical Literature (President, 1939)
    Stroke (several, fatal, 19-Sep-1971)

Author of books:
The Archaeology of Palestine and the Bible (1931)
From the Stone Age to Christianity (1940)
Archaeology and the Religion of Israel (1941)
The Biblical Period from Abraham to Ezra (1949)
Archaeology and Christian Humanism (1964)
New Horizons in Biblical Research (1966)
Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan (1968)


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