Zwinglius Redivivus

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The World’s Foremost Epigrapher- Chris Rollston

He’s in the news:

Rollston_700In a western Galilee excavation site, archaeologists unearth a massive stone covered in mysterious Aramaic engravings. Along the Mediterranean coast, scholars are puzzled by Phoenician markings on 4,000-year-old pottery shards. And in the deserts of Jordan, an ancient Moabite altar is discovered, but experts struggle to decipher the inscriptions adorning its surface.

What do each of these cases have in common? When Near East researchers found themselves stumped by the words on ancient artifacts, they all called Christopher Rollston.

Among the world’s leading Near East epigraphers, Rollston is a master of more than a dozen long-dead languages, from Akkadian to Ugaritic. He is a veteran of dig sites like Syria’s Umm e-Marra and Israel’s Megiddo. And, according to Eric Cline, professor of classics and anthropology, “He’s the go-to-guy when you’ve got an ancient inscription that needs translating.”

This fall, Rollston brings his skills and passion—not to mention his encyclopedic knowledge of texts from the Hebrew Bible to the Dead Sea Scrolls—to Columbian College. Or, more precisely, back to Columbian College. A popular visiting professor in the spring 2013 semester, Rollston will return to the school as a full-time associate professor of Northwest Semitic languages and literatures.

“I am delighted to be coming back to George Washington University,” Rollston said. “It is a great university with a distinguished faculty and stellar students. I have rarely enjoyed teaching as much as I did here.”

Rollston is a scholar of the ancient Near East, specializing in the Hebrew Bible, Old Testament Apocrypha, Northwest Semitic literature, paleography and biblical languages. Epigraphy—the translation of ancient inscriptions into modern languages—remains his true passion, and one that he’s eager to convey to students.

And more- which read.  Chris deserves this recognition and the fact that Emanuel foolishly let him go because of the petty jealousy of a minor academic has turned out for the best not just for Chris, but for academia.

Written by Jim

9 Jul 2014 at 2:12 pm

Posted in Friends

2 Responses

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  1. Unlike several others, he asked to testify in IL court on my behalf….and did so. Others whom I was ‘sure would testify’ as they had blogged and spoken out for academic freedom of speech, and I asked to testify or hand over important docs, refused.
    Chris is a man of integrity and courage, he was unemployed at the time that he made the offer, without so much me asking, for the opportunity to testify in court. Initially I was taken aback as some prominent colleagues had a lot to lose when the future of biblical archaeology is at stake, but like the Christian Zionists here, they suddenly did not want to get involved.


    Joe Zias

    9 Jul 2014 at 2:53 pm

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