P. Kyle McCarter
is the William Foxwell Albright Professor of Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the Johns Hopkins University.
McCarter graduated from OU in 1967, receiving a bachelor’s degree in English. In 1974 he received his doctoral degree from Harvard University, where he studied in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures specializing in Hebrew Bible and Northwest Semitic philology. For the following 11 years he served on the faculty of the University of Virginia, except for a one-year interlude spent as a visiting lecturer at Harvard University and Dartmouth College. He came to Johns Hopkins in 1985 as the first occupant of the newly-created Albright Chair in the Department of Near Eastern Studies.
McCarter spent much of the early part of his research career writing his two-volume commentary on the Books of Samuel in the Anchor Bible. His translation of I and II Samuel was the first to make use of the then-unpublished evidence of the Dead Sea scrolls, three fragmentary manuscripts from Qumran Cave 4. This work led to further study of ancient manuscripts, including a handbook on the textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, comparing of ancient biblical manuscripts written in Hebrew, Greek and other languages in order to establish the original reading of a text. His most recent contribution to the study of the Dead Sea scrolls is a new edition of the Copper Scroll, the most enigmatic of the Qumran manuscripts.
More recently, McCarter devoted an increasing portion of his work to the analysis and publication of newly found inscriptions found in excavation at various sites in the Middle East. He serves as epigraphist, a consultant on epigraphy, for a number of ongoing archaeological projects, both American and Israeli, at sites in Israel, such as Tel Zayit and Tel Beth Shemesh, both in the Judean shephelah, and Tel Ashkelon, on the coast north of Gaza. All of these sites have produced significant inscriptions dating to the last part of the second millennium B.C., a critical period in the history of the alphabet.
His Distinguished Alumnus presentation "The Origin and Early History of the Alphabet," will be at 3 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 21, Regents Room, OMU.