Notable Alumni

Graduates of our doctoral program hold positions at leading universities around the world.

  • Our very first graduate in 1887, Cyrus Adler, went on to become the president of the Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning and Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
  • Avraham Biran, who passed away at the age of 98, received his doctorate in 1935. In addition to being the director of the famous excavations at Tel Dan in northern Israel for more than 30 years, Biran wore many hats. Between 1949 and 1955, Biran was the District Commissioner of Jerusalem as well as Senior Member of the Israel delegation to the Mixed Armistice Commission of Jordan. He served as the Israeli consul in Los Angeles from 1955–1958. As Director of the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums (appointed in 1961), Biran oversaw excavations and in the 1970s helped negotiate publication of parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls, then held in the Palestine Archaeological Museum in East Jerusalem. In addition to being a world-renowned archaeologist, Biran was also the Director of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Israel since 1974. In 2002, Biran was presented with State of Israel’s greatest honor, the Israel Prize, in recognition of his enormous contributions to archaeological excavation, research, and publication.
  • Four of our alumni have held professorships at Harvard University (Frank Moore Cross, Thomas Lambdin, William Moran, and G. Ernest Wright). Each of these individuals was the leading scholar in his area of Near Eastern studies: Cross—Hebrew Bible-Northwest Semitics; Lambdin—Comparative Semitic Linguistics; Moran—Assyriology; Wright—Archaeology.
  • Frank Moore Cross held Harvard’s second oldest chair (the Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages in the Department of Near East Languages and Civilizations) from 1958–1992, and was the curator of the Harvard Semitic Museum. As one of the leading scholars of the Dead Sea Scrolls, he was a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (1971–1972), a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1978–1979), a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Member of the American Philosophical Society.
  • Raymond Brown was regarded as the Dean of New Testament scholars, having written more than 35 books. In addition to being elected a Fellow of the British Academy and American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was appointed by two popes as the sole American on the Pontifical Biblical Commission. Like Albright, he also received some 30 honorary degrees from universities around the world.