William Foxwell Albright was an American archaeologist, biblical scholar, philologist, and expert on ceramics. Albright was born in Coquimbo, Chile, the eldest of six children of American evangelical Methodist missionaries Wilbur Finley Albright, Albright was an alumnus of Upper Iowa University. He married Dr. Ruth Norton in 1921 and had four sons and he was also the Director of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem, 1922–1929, 1933–1936, and did important archaeological work at sites in Israel such as Gibeah and Tell Beit Mirsim. A prolific author, his works include Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan, The Archaeology of Palestine, From the Stone Age to Christianity. He also edited the Anchor Bible volumes on Jeremiah, Matthew, throughout his life Albright was honored with numerous awards, honorary doctorates, and medals, and was given the title Yakir Yerushalayim —the first time the award had been given to a non-Jew. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts, after his death, his legacy continued as a large number of scholars, inspired by his work, became specialists in the areas Albright had pioneered. The American School of Oriental Research, Jerusalem, is now known as the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, from the early twentieth century until his death, he was the dean of biblical archaeologists and the acknowledged founder of the Biblical archaeology movement. This area is widely contested among scholars. His student George Ernest Wright followed in his footsteps as the leader of the biblical archaeology movement, contributing work at Shechem. Albright also inspired, trained and worked with the first generation of world-class Israeli archaeologists, who have carried on his work, other students, notably Joseph Fitzmyer, S. J. Frank Moore Cross, Raymond E. Brown, and David Noel Freedman, became leaders in the study of the Bible. As editor of the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research between 1931 and 1968, Albright influenced both biblical scholarship and Palestinian archaeology, in this Albrights American Evangelical upbringing was clearly apparent. He insisted, for example, that as a whole, the picture in Genesis is historical, similarly he claimed that archaeology had proved the essential historicity of the Book of Exodus, and the conquest of Canaan as described in the Book of Joshua and the Book of Judges. In the years since his death, Albrights methods and conclusions have been increasingly questioned, the irony is that, in the long run, it will have been the newer secular archaeology that contributed the most to Biblical studies, not Biblical archaeology. The Archaeology of Palestine, From the Stone Age to Christianity Views of the Biblical World, Jerusalem, International Publishing Company J-m Ltd,1959. Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan, An Historical Analysis of Two Contrasting Faiths The Biblical Period from Abraham to Ezra Albright, interesting finds in tumuli near Jerusalem. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, New Light from Egypt on the Chronology and History of Israel and Judah. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Biblical archaeology List of artifacts significant to the Bible Views of the Biblical World Davis, Thomas W. Shifting Sands, the Rise and Fall of Biblical Archaeology
William F. Albright
Tumulus 2 (Jerusalem), excavated by W.F. Albright in 1923. His excavation trench is still visible at the top of the structure.
From the book William Foxwell Albright and the Origins of Biblical Archaeology by Peter Douglas Feinman