Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Lawrence Stager, 1943-2017

SAD NEWS: Lawrence Stager, Creative Biblical Archaeologist, Dies at 74 (Sam Roberts, New York Times).
Lawrence E. Stager, a pre-eminent American archaeologist who unearthed evidence that anxious ancient Israelites sinned by worshiping a “golden calf,” just as the Bible said, and who helped redeem the vulgar reputation of Goliath and his fellow Philistines, died on Friday at his home in Concord, Mass. He was 74.

I was a doctoral student in the Harvard NELC program in 1986 when Professor Stager arrived. The Ashkelon expedition was in its early years back then, and I worked as an assistant square supervisor there in the summers of 1987 and 1988.

Larry also opened up the basement of the Harvard Semitic Museum and began using its vast collection of ancient Syro-Palestinian pottery to train his students in ceramic typology. I was never much of an archaeologist, but I learned a lot from sitting in on his basement sessions of what he called "Pot Luck."

I mentioned the Ashkelon calf figurine recently here. Past PaleoJudaica posts on the Philistine cemetery discovered in Ashkelon in 2016 are here and links. There are many other past posts on the Ashkelon excavation. For some in recent years, see here, here, here, here, and links. You can find others in the archives.

Another obituary of Professor Stager has been published by H-Judaic: Obituary: Passing of Prof. Lawrence Stager.

Goodbye, Larry. It was an honor to work with you and to learn from you. Requiescat in pace.

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