Anson F. Rainey



Anson Frank Rainey was born January 11, l930, in Dallas, Texas. Upon the death of his father that same year he was left with his maternal grandparents, with whom he stayed until entering Brown Military Academy, San Diego, California, in l943.

His secondary education was completed at Brown Military Academy in June, 1946. After one semester of Junior College study there (as Cadet Battalion Commander), he served as Assistant Commandant at Southern California Military Academy, Long Beach, Calif. (Spring Semester, 1947), before transferring to John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas. During 1948-49 he also worked as Assistant Commandant at the Brown Military Academy of the Ozarks, Sulfur Springs, Ark., while attending the University. He took the B.A. degree there in Religious Education in August, 1949. In addition to regular studies, he completed the requirements for the Commercial Pilot's License and Instructor's Rating.

From Sept., 1949, to August, 1951, he worked as a social worker for the County Welfare Department, San Bernardino, Calif. Then he entered the California Baptist Theological Seminary, Covina, Calif., where he took three degrees: M.A. in Old Testament, May, 1953; B.D. in Biblical Theology, May, 1954; M.Th. in Old Testament, May, 1955. From Sept., 1953, until May, 1954, he was a teaching fellow (12 hrs. per wk.) in Hebrew, Old Testament and New Testament Introduction. In Sept., 1954, he became Assistant Professor and taught for two more years.

During the academic year, 1955-1956, he studied at the University of California, Los Angeles (after completing several correspondence courses with the Univ. of Calif. Extension), and completed the B.A. with Honors in August, 1956. His field of study was Ancient History with emphasis on the Hellenistic Period. While making application for further graduate study, he worked as salesman and later department manager in household furnishings and appliances (1956-57, Pomona, Calif.).

In Sept., 1957, he began graduate study at Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts. He received the M.A. in June, 1959, and spent a third year of residence, 1959-60, towards the Ph.D. He came to Israel in June, 1960, as the sole American recipient of the Government of Israel Award. In 1960-61, he studied at the Hebrew University, first in an intensive Hebrew course and then in Archaeology and in the Egyptian, Coptic and Phoenician languages (all in Hebrew). At the same time, he completed the basic research for his doctoral dissertation. In Sept., 1961, he returned to Brandeis University as a research assistant. Upon completion of his dissertation, he was awarded the Ph.D. in June, 1962. In August, 1962, he returned to Jerusalem to teach Historical Geography at the American Institute of Holy Land Studies.

However, his main activity for the academic year, 1962-63, was research and study under a grant from the Warburg Fund at the Hebrew University. This award was renewed for 1963-64, and the book which resulted was translated into Hebrew and published by the Bialik Institute (August, 1967). It was a revision of the earlier dissertation, expanded to include new source material that had subsequently become available. While concluding the above-mentioned research, he also began teaching Ugaritic and Akkadian at the Tel Aviv University, six hours per week at the rank of Instructor.

As of the Fall Term, 1964, he began teaching full time (eight hours). For the Fall and Winter Trimesters, 1965-66, he was acting chairman of the Ancient Near Eastern Studies Department. In 1966, his status was changed to Lecturer and in 1967 we was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Semitic Languages (with tenure).

He was elevated to Associate Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Cultures in 1970. Meanwhile, the department was reorganized under the title, Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, in which he served as co-ordinator for Mesopotamian Studies until Oct., 1975. A new department of Semitic Linguistics was also organized and during 1971-72 he was its acting chairman. He was promoted to the rank of Full Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Cultures and Semitic Linguistics effective 1 July, 1981. His teaching responsibilities have included Ancient Near Eastern languages such as Ugaritic, Akkadian, Ancient Hebrew, Phoenician and Egyptian; in addition, he has taught Historical Geography of the Land of the Bible.

He has served on the editorial boards of Israel Oriental Studies, an annual, and of Tel Aviv, a quarterly, both publications of Tel Aviv University.

Meanwhile, he has continued his connection with the American Institute of Holy Land Studies (now the Jerusalem University College), teaching Historical Geography and for six years, from 1964 to 1969, conducting their intensive program of geographical field trips.

Further experience has been gained in Field Archaeology, first as a volunteer: Ramat Rahel (1961), Arad (1963, '64), En-gedi (1964, '65), Metzad Mazal (1965), Kh. Burgata (1966); later as Area Supervisor: Lachish (1966, -'68), Gezer (1967), Arad (1967), Kh. Rabud (1968, '69); and as Field Supervisor and Core Staff member: Beer-sheba (1969-'76); Tel Michal (1977-'80); Tel Gerisa (1981-'83, '86, '88, '95), Tel Harasim (1997-'98). Since 1968, this work has been done as a staff researcher of the Tel Aviv University Institute of Archaeology.

During the l960's and '70's, additional study was pursued at the Hebrew University: in Akkadian and Sumerian with Professor Aaron Shafer and in Egyptian with Professors H. J. Polotsky and Sarah Groll.

Post-doctoral awards have been limited to the two stipends of $l000 each awarded by the Warburg Fund of the Hebrew University for study during the academic years 1962-63 and 1963-64. A sabbatical leave was taken during 1970-71, during which time it was deemed advisable to remain in Jerusalem to study with Professor Polotsky. For a second sabbatical, he was awarded a grant by the American Council of Learned Societies. On the basis of this award he was enabled to spend the year 1976-77 as an Honorary Research Fellow at Harvard University. The ground work was laid for a grammar of the West Semitic language reflected in the el-‘Am?rna letters.

Grants from the Research for Peace Project of the Tel Aviv University made possible three visits to the Cairo Museum in 1980, -'81 and '82. All of the el-‘Am?rna Tablets in the Museum were collated. Other collateral material, such as topographical inscriptions with Canaanite and North Syrian names, was also collated at other sites such as Karnak, Luxor and Medinet Habu.

In 1982-83 he began teaching part-time at Bar Ilan University in the Department of Eretz-Israel Studies. This connection was renewed in 1984-85 and has continued ever since. The courses taught are in Historical Geography.

During a third sabbatical in 1983-84, he was Visiting Research Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. A monograph was prepared on Canaanite in the Amarna Tablets -- Morphosyntax of the Particles and Adverbs.

During a fourth sabbatical in 1988-89, he was Visiting Research Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. A monograph was prepared on Canaanite in the Amarna Tablets -- Morphosyntax of the Verbal System. The manuscript was also completed of a complete revision of Y. Aharoni's Carta's Atlas of the Biblical Period which appeared in Hebrew in 1995. The English version had appeared as the first part of The Macmillan Bible Atlas (1993). In 1993-94 the manuscript was completed for Canaanite in the Amarna Tablets -- Writing, Pronouns and Nouns. An index and bibliography was completed as vol. IV in 1994-95.

During a fifth sabbatical for 1995-96, he was again Visiting Research Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania where he also taught a seminar in Northwest Semitic inscriptions. Final corrections were made on Canaanite in the Amarna Tablets. All four volumes were published by E. J. Brill Publishers in Handbuch der Orientalistik and appeared (January, 1996). A translation was completed of D. Sivan's Grammar of Ugaritic, Handbuch der Orientalistik. Leiden: E. J. Brill. 1997.

From 1996 to 30 September, 1998, he continued to teach as Full Professor at Tel Aviv University. On 1 October, 1998 he became Emeritus Professor there but taught a course in the academic years 1998-99, 1999?2000 and 2000-2001. On the other hand, his half-time job at Bar Ilan University continues; there he teaches Historical Geography. For the academic years 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 he was also employed in a half-time position at Ben Gurion University of the Negeb conducting seminars in historical geography.

Using final sabbatical leave, he spent July, 1999 in Jordan studying historical geography and archaeology. In August and September, 1999 he spent the sabbatical time working at the British Museum collating el-‘Am?rna tablets. Sixty-six texts were read and many substantial corrections were discovered. Four days were spent at the Vorderasiatische Museum in Berlin where eleven texts were collated, some with new readings and corrections. All these texts were copied directly into a Macintosh G3 Power Book so that up to date transcriptions and translations are now available. Further collations were made at the Metropolitan Museum, New York in November, 1999 and at the British Museum and at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago in January-February, 2000, bringing the total of collated texts up to about 100. A third visit to the United Kingdom was carried out in April, 2001 to complete the collation of texts in the British Museum and also those in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. This latter visit to the United Kingdom was sponsored by the Jeselsohn Epigraphic Center of Jewish History, Bar Ilan University. It is planned that in the near future further collations will be made of all of the texts in Berlin and elsewhere (a few in Paris, Brussels, and possibly Moscow) and make a new edition of the corpus. During the Fall quarter at the University of California, Los Angeles, consultation began with the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative in digitizing the Amarna tablets in the Berlin Museum. He also was a full time visiting professor of Semitic Languages.

During the Spring semester, 2002, he has been invited to teach at Konkuk University in Seoul, Korea. In July, 2002, he is being invited to be a visiting fellow of Macquarie University, North Ryde, NWS, Australia. For August and September 2002 he is being invited to come to Melbourne, Australia as a visiting researcher.

In the new academic year, 2002-2003, he has been invited to head the M.Ed. program in Eretz Israel Studies at the Orot Seminar in Elqana.

Materials are being gathered and edited towards incorporation into a new historical and geographical atlas of the land of the Bible and adjacent regions. This atlas will contain discussions of epigraphic geographical sources as well as new information derived from field research.

In 2003-2004 it is hoped that he can spend eight or nine months collating the Amarna tablets at the Vorderasiatische Museum in Berlin and at other venues in Europe. This will be in cooperation with the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative and the program for West Semitic Research. A completely new edition of the Amarna tablets is envisioned along with photographic and internet recording.

Volunteer on a dig!!! Publications in Archaeology Current Projects The Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations The Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology