Sunday, July 08, 2018

On Larry Stager

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Giant of Iron Age Research. Lawrence E. Stager (1943–2017) (Daniel M. Master).
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 to being a “Biblical archaeologist” was a bit like walking into a chemistry lab and admitting to practicing alchemy. This same American revolution in archaeology also looked askance at archaeologists around the world (including those in Israel) who were not up-to-date on the latest archaeological theory or jargon.

From the beginning, Larry stood above these trends. He was secure enough in himself that he did not feel the need to limit what he could study or from whom he could learn. ...
Past PaleoJudaica posts on Professor Stager are here and here and links. I was a doctoral student at Harvard when Larry arrived. I was not an archaeologist, but I sat in on some of his classes and worked at the Ashkelon excavation for a couple of seasons. Reminiscences are at the links.

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