Sarepta (Sarafand), Lebanon
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives [Contact Us]3260 South Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19104-6324
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James Bennett Pritchard was a distinguished professor and archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania and the University Penn Museum. During his tenure, Pritchard participated in numerous excavation sites and archaeological digs. Pritchard also published several books and articles during his career. As a professor of Religious Thought and curator of the Syro-Palestinian section of the University Museum, Pritchard influenced many people in the world of archaeology. Dr. Pritchard was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1909. He went to Asbury College where he received an A.B. in 1930. After graduating from Asbury, his next collegiate step was to Drew University in New Jersey. At Drew, he received a Bachelor’s in Divinity in 1935. Finally, it was at the University of Pennsylvania that Pritchard received his Doctorate in 1942. His dissertation, Palestinian Figurines in Relation to Certain Goddesses Known through Literature, was later published by the American Oriental Society. After his dissertation, Pritchard taught at Crozier Theological Seminary from 1942 to 1954 (where he taught Martin Luther King Jr.) and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific from 1954 to 1962. He also taught classes at the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem and the American University of Beirut. It was in 1962 that Dr. Pritchard returned to The University of Pennsylvania as a professor in Religious Thought. Pritchard was not just a class room professor. He participated at many sites including excavations at Dibon, Gibeon, Tell-es- Sai’diyeh and Sarepta. During his years as curator of Syro-Palestinian archaeology, Pritchard kept busy by writing numerous books and published articles. Some of his more famous books are Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, Archaeology and the Old Testament, and The Times Atlas of the Bible. Others include Gibeon, Where the Sun Stood still and Recovering Sarepta, a Phoenician City. Pritchard’s academic accolades did not go unseen. Pritchard was awarded various honors including The Gold medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement from the Archaeological Institute of America and the Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities and Sciences from the American Philosophical Society. Along with these awards, Pritchard received an honorary doctorate of Theology from The Royal University of Uppsala in Sweden. He was also accepted into the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton.
In 1997, Dr. James Bennett Pritchard died. As a scholar, educator, and friend he was mourned by many. William P. Anderson, a former student wrote, “James B. Pritchard was a major figure in the study of the peoples and civilizations of the ancient Near East. He contributed significantly to the advancement of knowledge through his teaching, his speaking, his writing, and his excavations.”
- University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives
Isreal Lebanon War, Attack on Sarafand