Magazine article The Christian Century

Deaths

Magazine article The Christian Century

Deaths

Article excerpt

* Frank Moore Cross, a biblical scholar who taught 35 years at Harvard University and influenced studies of Israelite history, the Dead Sea Scrolls and Near Eastern inscriptions, died at age 91 on October 17 in Rochester, New York. The son and grandson of Presbyterian ministers, Cross earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in 1946. His academic career took a fortunate turn when he went to Johns Hopkins University to study with renowned Near Eastern scholar William E Albright. Cross earned his doctorate there in 1950. By then, the Dead Sea Scrolls had evoked the excitement of professors and the public. The sectarian writings and oldest-ever copies of Hebrew biblical texts first surfaced in antiquities markets before more were discovered in caves west of the Dead Sea. Leading scholars, including Albright and several of his students, received exclusive access to publish definitive studies of assigned scrolls. Cross, at age 32, was appointed in 1953 to an international committee making editing assignments. Cross joined the Harvard faculty in 1957, and his 1958 book, The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Biblical Studies, placed him in the forefront of his field. Jonathan Rosebaum, president emeritus at Gratz College, said that Cross, in his Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic (1973), "produced creative and original proposals for understanding the origins of Israelite religion" and the development of the Hebrew Bible. Though admired for his devotion to students and his breadth of knowledge, by 1990-1991 Cross and others with exclusive scroll rights were being publicly criticized for impeding further studies. …

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